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Interim Emergency Housing Ordinance

UPDATE: Ordinance up for public hearing

On Tuesday June 25, 2019, the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) voted (2 to 1) to approve the Emergency Housing Ordinance. The Ordinance became effective immediately. The BoCC renewed the interim ordinance June 9, 2020 under Ordinance 15902, and December 1, 2020. To keep the ordinance valid, the BoCC must pass the interim ordinance with a majority vote every six months. See the Interim Emergency Housing Ordinance 15948 (PDF). 

Homeless Encampment Background: (what was allowed before adopting the interim ordinance)

  • Homeless encampments are permitted administratively as a temporary use subject to conditions.
  • The permitting of homeless encampments is conditional on the fulfillment of a public notice and informational meeting.
    • Informational meeting to be held within ten (10) days of filing the notice of application.
    • Notification for all public schools in the homeless encampment school district.
    • Signs or placards at the site.
  • Homeless encampments may not currently exceed one hundred eighty days.
  • Homeless encampments must meet all other homelessness encampment requirements in Thurston County Code. 
NEW: Adopted Interim Regulations NEW Process (what is now allowed under interim regulations)
  • Upon adoption of an emergency resolution by the Board, the Director of Community Planning and Economic Development would be able to waive certain requirements.
  • Any waiver of requirements would be allowed for a six (6) month period, and may allow more residents in the encampment.
  • The waiver may be extended if the Board holds a public hearing and finds a public health emergency continues to exist. The waiver can be extended for an additional six (6) month period.
  • A minor amendment was added through the December 1, 2020 BoCC public hearing process allowing Recreational Vehicles in RV encampments to utilize their integrated cooking and heating units within the RV.
  • As proposed, any requirement may be waived at the discretion of the Director or designee except for the following requirements;
    • All sanitary portable toilets shall be screened from adjacent properties and rights-of-way.
    • All temporary structures within the homeless encampment shall conform to all building codes.
    • The homeless encampment shall conform to fire safety requirements.
    • The host agency shall provide to all residents of the homeless encampment a "Code of Conduct" for living at the encampment.
    • All homeless encampment residents must sign an agreement to abide by the code of conduct. Failure to abide by the code of conduct and the operations and security plan shall result in the noncompliant resident's immediate and permanent expulsion from the property.
    • The sponsoring agency shall self police and self manage its residents and shall prohibit alcohol, illegal drugs, fighting, and abuse of any kind, littering or disturbing neighbors while located on the property.

Homelessness Public Health Crisis Resolution

Interim Emergency Housing Ordinance (PDF)

Memorandum to the Board of County Commissioners

Thurston County Code on Homeless Encampments