Public Hearing on Changes to Emergency Housing Ordinance

City of Olympia
Date of Release: September 27, 2018

Amy Buckler
Downtown Programs Manager

Public Hearing on Changes to Emergency Housing Ordinance

Opportunities to Learn About & Comment on Changes to the City’s Emergency Housing Ordinance

The Olympia Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on changes to the City’s Emergency Housing Ordinance on Monday, October 15 at or after 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers. The Emergency Housing Ordinance is a land use regulation that allows faith-based, non-profit and government entities to site temporary housing for homeless individuals on their property, subject to a permit. After receiving public comment, the Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council about proposed changes, and the Council will make the decision on the final ordinance.

The public is invited to comment in two ways:

  • Provide oral testimony at the public hearing on Monday, October 15 at or after 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers
  • Submit written comments at the hearing, or via email to or C/O The Community Planning and Development Department, PO Box 1967, Olympia, WA 98507-1967. To ensure consideration, written comments must be received prior to 5 p.m., Friday, Oct 19, 2018

Want to learn more about the proposed changes? A public information meeting will be held on Thursday, October 11 from 5:30-7 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers. View a fact sheet on the Emergency Housing Ordinance.

The Olympia City Council adopted interim amendments to the Emergency Housing Ordinance (formally known as the Temporary Homeless Encampment regulations) on June 5, 2018. Adopting an ordinance on an interim basis requires that the Planning Commission hold a public hearing and make a recommendation about the changes within 6 months. The original ordinance only allowed one facility on County property and one additional facility that could move from church to church over the entire city. Based on the number of unsheltered people living in and around Olympia there appears to be a need for multiple facilities. Other changes in the interim ordinance include:

  • Change the name of the regulations to Emergency Housing Facility Regulations
  • Eliminate the differentiation between types of Emergency Housing Facilities
  • Increase the number of Emergency Housing Facilities allowed
  • Allow Emergency Housing Facilities to be operated by or hosted on faith based, not-for-profit organizations and governmental entities
  • Reduce barriers for clients
  • Reduce barriers for host organizations
  • View a fact sheet for more information

Please note, while there are many issues associated with homelessness, the information meeting and public hearing are specific to the Emergency Housing Ordinance. More information about what the City is doing to address homelessness is located on the City’s homelessness webpage. City Hall is located at 601 4th Ave East in downtown.