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:
Stay Informed, Get Involved & Make a Difference
Although the City made great steps forward, we know the conversation about homelessness in Olympia is far from over. That’s why we've launched a new online tool, Engage Olympia, to make it easier to find out the latest information, get answers to your questions, and share your input – online, anytime.
It’s easy, just go to EngageOlympia.com and create an account. Then visit the Homeless Response project to:
- Get the latest news, rumor control and opportunities to get involved.
- Ask questions about what is happening - They’ll be answered by a real person.
- Share your ideas for addressing homelessness in and support other’s ideas.
- Provide input through a variety of surveys and other tools.
We work better, smarter and stronger with community input. Sign up and engage now!