OLYMPIA – On August 14, 2018, the Thurston County Board of County Commissioners adopted a 5-Year Thurston County Homeless Housing Plan (2017-2022).
The plan, as required by RCW 43.185c.05, was prepared and recommended by the local Continuum of Care advisory body known as the Thurston Thrives Homeless Housing Hub. Derek Harris, Chief Executive Officer of Community Youth Services and Chair of the Thurston Thrives Homeless Housing Hub, brought forth the plan on behalf of the members, which include persons who have experienced homelessness, emergency shelter, housing and social service providers, and local government representatives.
The plan is a critical strategic planning document that will guide local efforts to make homelessness rare, brief, and one time. It further supports the homeless crisis resolution, declared by the Board of Health on June 14th 2018, which called for effective community-wide collaborative coordination, planning, and policy efforts to end this crisis. It also calls to implement actions that will reduce homelessness, increase affordable housing development opportunities, and address the health, safety, social, economic, and environmental impacts of homelessness.
In addition, a homeless response coordinator will be hired to work together with the continuum of care, local jurisdictions, and other community members to implement the latest plan. The plan closely aligns with Washington State’s homeless housing strategic plan and is intended to be a working document that will be updated regularly. The Washington State Department of Commerce will release new guidelines for local homeless plans in December of 2018.
Thurston County’s Board of County Commissioners are determined that strong, regional, comprehensive actions be taken.
Commissioner Bud Blake, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners said, “The number of people without housing in Thurston County has been rising significantly and the 5-Year Plan presents a strategic vision for tackling the complex challenge of homelessness in our community by working together. We are very grateful to the continuum of care members who developed this plan and work hard every day to address the needs of vulnerable citizens.”
The 5-Year plan calls for a regional focus on three primary strategic goals including expanding housing resources, standardizing best practices, and regionalizing public homeless policy.
Homelessness is an ongoing, and complex, issue in our community. Thurston County Commissioners are working together with the cities on comprehensive on-the-ground programs that will reduce homelessness in our communities, and help to provide long-term solutions as well as short-term help.