2019 Thurston County Homeless Census

Thank you for joining us on Thursday, January 24, 2019, to help count those who are houseless in our community! The City of Olympia anticipates preliminary data by Summer 2019.

The most urgent area impacting our region’s 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 year’s 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.

Who is homeless in Thurston County?

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 in 2018 were:

  • Job loss/unemployment
  • Eviction/loss of housing
  • Family rejection
  • Domestic violence
  • Additionally, 59% of people said they lived in Thurston County before becoming homeless.