2019 Thurston County Homeless Census

Please join us on Thursday, January 24, 2019, to help count those who are houseless in our community.

The most urgent area impacting our regions overall health right now is housing stability: from the basic lack of supply, to working adults unable to afford rent, to homeless families and children sleeping in their cars at night.

That is why Thurston Thrives is working with the City of Olympia to engage our community in this years Point in Time count and annual homeless census.

The Annual Point in Time (PIT) Homeless Census is the way we learn who is homeless and why here in Thurston County.  This “point in time” one day count was first pioneered by Olympia area service providers and soon thereafter adopted by the state as the singular annual measurement tool to help guide the investment of federal, state and local funding.

Each year in late January, service providers and volunteers use a confidential questionnaire to gather data, which is entered into a Statewide database called the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) to be tracked, analyzed and reported on.  Please note the total PIT Homeless Census number includes people who are:

1)  Unsheltered  living out-of doors, in vehicles, in sub-standard buildings not fit for human habitation;
2)  Emergency Shelter Short-term 90 day accommodations, either dormitory style or in apartments; and
3)  Transitional Housing Short term housing offering 18 months or less.

Locally, the results of this census are compiled into the County’s annual “Point in Time Count of Homeless Persons Report”, often referred to as the annual homeless census report. This homeless census report serves to:

  • Provide an accurate count of homeless people, the causes of their homelessness, and other demographic information;
  • Quantify needs based on numbers of homeless people, which in turn brings in federal and state dollars to provide homeless shelter, transitional housing and other services;
  • Assess resources currently available; and
  • Analyze needs and resource gaps to serve as the basis for local strategic responses to homelessness.

In 2018, 835 people were counted as homeless in Thurston County.This was a 56% increase, or 301 more people, than was counted in 2017.

The main causes of homelessness are related to economic & family stability.The top 4 reasons for becoming homeless were:

  1. Job loss/unemployment
  2. Eviction/loss of housing
  3. Family rejection
  4. Domestic violence

Additionally, 59% of people said they lived in Thurston County before becoming homeless.

And 38% of all homeless persons counted were households with children. 

Census workers will fan out across the County to conduct a street census, survey people at food banks, community meals, and other places that offer survival commodities.

We need your help! We gladly welcome individuals or groups of people to help conduct this census. There are many shifts and opportunities to engage, as well as training prior to the census to help you understand your role.

Interested? Please contact us for more information!

Homeless Census Contact Form

Want to know how to volunteer, or get more information on this years census? Please use this form.
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