Homelessness

Homeless man holding sign

A Regional Crisis

Homelessness is the most significant and urgent public concern facing our community. The 2018 Point in Time Census counted 835 homeless individuals in the county, marking a 56% increase from 2017. Although homelessness is most visible within the urban hub of downtown Olympia, this issue affects all of Thurston County.

In July 2018, the Olympia City Council declared a state of public health emergency related to homelessness (view ordinance). Doing so enables the City to respond to the needs in the community more quickly.

Homelessness is a complex problem, and a truly effective response will take regional partnerships and the proactive involvement of a broad spectrum of stakeholders.

What is the City Doing to Address Homelessness?

The City of Olympia is committed to treating unsheltered people with respect, dignity and compassion and to minimizing harm and trauma as we assist them.  We are working to provide safe and legal shelter options, while we manage City property for its intended use and balance the needs of the unsheltered with the impacts on the community.

The City cannot fix homelessness. And finding lasting solutions in our community will be a long-term process. However, the City is addressing immediate needs related to homelessness and working on longer-term strategies. Some of the steps we’ve taken include:

Questions?

Contact Homeless Response staff at 360.753.8231 or homelessness@ci.olympia.wa.us