What is Thurston County doing to address homelessness?
On June 14, 2018, the Thurston County Board of Health (BoH) declared homelessness a public health crisis in Thurston County. The declaration was one of the first steps in taking a proactive approach to understanding and addressing homelessness in our region.
Additional steps the County is taking to address this issue are:
- Approved the Thurston County Homeless Crisis Response Plan for 2019-2024
- Conducted a fair housing assessment
- Distributed $6.2 million dollars to 22 nonprofit agencies to support homeless and affordable housing
- Provided rental assistance to military veterans and their families at the Lacey Veteran's Hub
- Supported Thurston Thrives Housing Action Team in implementing strategic goals
- Promoted healthy and safe rental housing through the Healthy Homes program
- Conducted the first rental housing symposium
- Partnering with the City of Olympia in developing a Homelessness Response Plan
- Participated and sponsored the regional housing summit in partnership with Thurston Thrives and other local jurisdictions
- Supported Thurston Thrives affordable housing team in promoting the housing affordability model to incentivize private public partnerships to develop new affordable housing in Thurston County
- Launched and convened the Hazardous Weather Task Force and developed a “Code Blue” plan to save lives, increase sheltering capacity, and coordinate county wide response during inclement weather
- Expanded the cold weather season to provide more consistent sheltering options for those that are unsheltered during our coldest winter months
- Provided emergency funding to local shelter providers, the Community Care Center, and the coordinated entry system
- Hired a new Homeless Prevention and Affordable Housing Coordinator to coordinate regional efforts to address the homeless and affordable housing crisis
- Provided Hepatitis-A vaccination clinics to those experiencing homelessness in partnership with the Olympia Free Clinic.
- Conducted the annual county wide point in time count for 2019 in partnership with the City of Olympia and over 200 volunteers
- Providing funding and support to Thurston County’s Coordinated Entry System to assess needs and connect people to available housing, shelter, and other basic needs