2020 Thurston County Homeless Census

The Thurston County Public Health Department will be coordinating the 2020 Census. Stay updated on the County’s work on homelessness HERE.

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 partnered with the City of Olympia to engage our community in the 2020 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.

Thurston County is striving to develop new and more inclusive systems for our Point in Time Count. We have worked with providers and staff to build a new training format for volunteers that encompasses the ethics of Trauma Informed Care, and our training sessions will be designed to help us make connections and new friends.
Please join us at any of the offered dates! We look forward to working with all of you to help better serve our houseless neighbors.
Friday, January 10. 12-1pm at Olympia City Hall Room 207
Friday, January 17. 12-1pm at Olympia City Hall Room 207
Tuesday, January 14. 5:30-6:30pm at Olympia City Hall Room 207
Tuesday, January 21. 5:30-6:30pm at Olympia City Hall Room 207
Wednesday, January 15. 6-7pm at Olympia Center, 222 Columbia Ave
Wednesday, January 22. 6-7pm at Olympia Center, 222 Columbia Ave
We will also be offering a full length Trauma Informed Care training in cooperation with Interfaith Works and Meg Martin on Monday, January 13, from 11-1 at the Community Care Center.
To sign up for any of these training times, please use this link! PIT Trainings

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.