OLYMPIA -- Thurston County Public Health and Social Services has released preliminary data for the 2022 Point-in-Time Homeless Census. This preliminary data accounts for how many Thurston County residents are experiencing unsheltered homelessness or staying in shelters or transitional housing programs.
This year, the PIT counted 766 people experiencing homelessness. Annually, the PIT is conducted on the fourth Thursday in January. However, due to concerns of the COVID-19 Omicron surge, the 2022 PIT was delayed by a month.
On the night of February 24, 2022, 56 people were staying in transitional housing, and 294 people in emergency shelter. More than half of people counted were experiencing unsheltered homelessness. 416 people were staying in sanctioned and unsanctioned encampments, RVs or other vehicles, small structures, doorways, and in other places not meant for human habitation.
Contrasting the 2022 PIT preliminary data to 2021, there appears to be a significant decrease in homeless households counted in Thurston County. However, the 2021 PIT count was based on observation alone, and no surveys were conducted. This year, although the county used an abbreviated survey, many households declined to participate. Declining to participate, not being present at their camp or place of residence when enumerators are deployed, and cold and freezing weather are all common factors in decreased data reported.
Data presented in the preliminary report for people living in shelters and transitional housing programs were reported within the County’s Homeless Management Information System.
“Thurston County continues to prioritize understanding the needs of unsheltered and unstably housed residents to build an effective response,” said Keylee Marineau, Homeless Response Program Manager. “It is through collaborative efforts such as the PIT that we can hopefully gain perspective of who in our county is experiencing homelessness and why. We all want to find solutions, and we cannot do that without hearing from those who are most in need of it.”