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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Anna Schlecht, PIT Homeless Census Coordinator at (360) 753-8183 or aschlech@ci.olympia.wa.us
Theresa Slusher, Thurston County Homeless Coordinator & Rural Homeless Connect Event Mgr

Volunteers Needed for 2015 Homeless Census Jan. 29-31
Countywide count includes homeless resource events in Rochester, Yelm, Olympia and Tenino

Volunteers are needed to help with the annual homeless census in Thurston County, and with several "Homeless Connect" resource fair events, all happening Thursday, January 29 through Saturday, January 31. The Thurston County census and resource fairs are part of a nationwide "Point in Time" homeless count designed to help determine who is homeless, why, and what resources are needed to help people get back to independence.

2015 homeless census organizers will mobilize hundreds of volunteers to fan out across the county to find and interview homeless residents. Previous census volunteers have included individuals from local schools and colleges, non-profit organizations, faith communities, businesses, elected officials, and even some volunteers struggling with homelessness themselves.

"We need a lot of volunteers to make this a successful census," said Homeless Census Coordinator Anna Schlecht. "Each year, we draw people from all walks of life to fan out throughout the county to learn who's homeless and why. By working together, we all learn more about homelessness and about the roles we can play to help folks get back into housing."

The 2015 homeless census will include a new special outdoor "Youth Count!" event at the Artesian Well in downtown Olympia. Volunteers are needed for Youth Count! so that census organizers can reach more street-dependent youth who are often hard to find using other census methods. The Youth Count! event will feature live music, a youth-run hot dog stand, social services and survival resources. All Youth Count! activities will occur rain or shine, under canopies as needed.

Along with the census and survey canvasing, volunteers are also needed for four homeless resource fair events where families and individuals struggling with homelessness can connect with social services, and where they can also get hot meals, warm clothing, and other survival commodities. This year's "Homeless Connect" resource fair events will be held in Rochester and Yelm on Thursday, January 29, and in downtown Olympia and in Tenino on Saturday, January 31.

The annual Thurston County Homeless Census is coordinated by the City of Olympia, which has a contract with Thurston County to do the census. The results of the census are used to help guide federal, state and local funding decisions for local shelters, transitional housing, and related supportive services. The Thurston County HOME Consortium oversees the annual census and uses the data to help make recommendations for the multi-jurisdictional administration of the county's housing programs.

If you are interested in volunteering with the 2015 Thurston County Homeless Census or at the Homeless Connect resource fair events in Rochester, Yelm, Olympia or Tenino, contact Homeless Census Coordinator Anna Schlecht at (360) 753-8183 or aschlech@ci.olympia.wa.us.

WHAT: Volunteers Needed! 2015 Homeless Census & Homeless Connect Events

WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 29 and Saturday, Jan. 31

  • Jan. 29: Thurston County Homeless Census—locations throughout Thurston County

  • Jan. 29: Rochester Homeless Connect at the ROOF Community Center,
    10140 Highway 12 SW in Rochester, 98579

  • Jan. 29: Yelm Homeless Connect at Yelm Community Services Center,
    624 Crystal Springs Road NW in Yelm, 98597

  • Jan. 31: Olympia Homeless Connect at First Christian Church,
    701 Franklin St SE in Olympia, 98501

  • Jan. 31: Tenino Homeless Connect at the Quarry House,
    319 W Park Ave in Tenino, 98589

CONTACT: To volunteer for the census, the special Youth Count! event, or for any of the four Homeless Connect resource fair events, contact Anna Schlecht:
  • Anna Schlecht, Homeless Census Coordinator
    (360) 753-8183


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3