Homelessness in Thurston County
The Office of Housing & Homeless Prevention utilizes a number of different tools to improve progress towards ending homelessness. We are engaged with a number of different efforts, and work to increase collaboration, consistency, and effectiveness of services offered.
The Homeless Services Division
- As a funding agency distributing local, state and federal funds, OHHP is accountable for meeting HUD grant management minimum standards and are working towards full alignment with HUD 2 CFR 200.
- OHHP follows CHG minimum best practices, for low-barrier, equity based, trauma informed, and coordinated homeless crisis response.
- OHHP is a lead partner in the Built for Zero & Anchor Community Initiative! ACI has a dedicated support team through Away Home Washington, and an active core team of engaged Youth and Young Adult Providers. To get involved email Megan Toney.
- In December 2022, Thurston County was named a Youth Demonstration Homelessness Project (YHDP) County. Learn more.
- OHHP strives to provide Technical Assistance to all active and potential grantees. If you are a small agency reach out for more information on what TA we offer, including but not limited to: how to apply for government funding.
- Maintains an extensive community resource list.
Hazardous Weather Taskforce
The Hazardous Weather Task Force (HWTF) is a county-wide, multi-agency, multi-disciplinary group working to plan expansion of services and outreach to minimize illness and death among unsheltered homeless persons during normal and extreme weather.
HAZARDOUS WEATHER EVENT
A hazardous weather event is a countywide action that aims to provide an immediate increase in the number of overnight shelter beds available and additional day time indoor sheltering for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness or other vulnerable populations during an hazardous weather event. Expanded overnight shelter beds, daytime shelters, and outreach shelter-in-place activities during a hazardous weather event are conducted by agencies within the Homeless Crisis Response System that are specifically contracted for these activities. During a hazardous weather event, outreach based shelter-in-place activities are activated to ensure that those unable to shelter inside have access to basic survival gear appropriate for the type of hazardous weather.
Hazardous Weather Response Plan
The Hazardous Weather Response Plan for Unsheltered Thurston County Residents (HWRP) utilizes a county-wide, multi-agency, multi-disciplinary approach to expand services and to minimize illness and death among unsheltered houseless persons during normal and extreme weather events.
The HWRP is drafted by a committee of community advocates, county departmental staff on behalf of Thurston County residents who are unsheltered. It is intended to improve communications, clarify responsibilities, and reach agreement on procedures with participating agencies for year round hazardous weather conditions.
Volunteer during a Hazardous Weather Event
Check out Interfaith Works Code Blue website for more information.
Hazardous Weather Taskforce Meetings
The Hazardous Weather Taskforce meets regularly during cold and hazardous weather season. Email to get added to the invitation and list.
Hazardous Weather Task Force Partners
- Family Support Center South Sound
- Saint Michael's Parish
- City of Lacey
- Love Abounds Here
- City of Tumwater
- Interfaith Works
- Community Youth Services
- Peer Olympia
- WA State Parks
- Thurston Mason Behavioral Health Organization
- Crisis Clinic
- Partners in Prevention Education
- City of Olympia
- InterCity Transit
- Timberland Regional Library
- Catholic Community Services of Western Washington
- Union Gospel Mission
- South Sound Senior Services
- City of Yelm
- Olympia Mutual Aid Partners
- City of Tenino
Point in Time Annual Homeless Census
OHHP conducts the Point in Time count annually on the last Thursday in January. While the count represents a single night, the process of gathering the information takes place over the course of a week, conducting surveys, doing outreach, and holding events to drive engagement.
- The Point in Time Count (PIT) started in 2006. Check out our Accountability page to look at our County data and reports.
- It takes a village. In 2023 we leveraged over 60 volunteers and 40 community partner agencies to achieve the count.
- The PIT only captures a part of the picture. The quality of data varies from year to year depending on methodology used, the weather, and other complications related to unsheltered homelessness. Annually the methodology may adapt to capture as many folks as possible, despite stubborn barriers that remain to an accurate count.
- There are volunteer opportunities, and opportunities for local non-profits to partner with OHHP for a winter/survival gear drive in the months prior to the count. Email email@example.com for more information.
- The initial data report for the 2023 PIT will be released in mid March, with the full report expected by early June.
- The Point in Time count is not simply a local effort, but represents a state and national effort that results in the:
- King County Regional Homelessness Authority conducts their own count. Take a look.
- Pierce County Point in Time count data.
Stay engaged! @icounthurston for PIT specific information, and @ThurstonHealth for Public Health and Social Services updates.