Olympia's Homeless Response

Immediate, emergency actions

Homelessness affects all of Thurston County, but is most visible within the urban hub of downtown Olympia. In July 2018, the Olympia City Council declared a public health emergency related to homelessness. Doing so enables the City to respond to the needs in the community more quickly.

The City is addressing the immediate, emergency needs with a variety of actions and strategies including:

  • Mitigation Site(s);
  • the Plum Street Tiny House Village;
  • a City & Faith Community Pilot Partnership;
  • Expansion of 24/7 shelter options;
  • Mobile Crisis Response and Familiar Faces teams;
  • Secure storage for homeless individuals' belongings; and
  • a Rapid Response Team that monitors City-owned property to prevent new unmanaged encampments.

Learn more about all of our homeless response actions at olympiawa.gov/homelessness and sign up for email updates at olympiawa.gov/subscribe.

Long-term strategies & actions

In March 2019, the City began a process to identify how we, as a regional community, will respond (in the long-term) to the homelessness crisis. This includes planning for the needs of residents, visitors, business owners and individuals experiencing homelessness.

The end result will be a community-driven Homeless Response Plan that includes a variety of strategies and actions, individual organizations or multiple partners who will take the lead on actions, and metrics to help us track our progress over time.

This process is hosted and shepherded by a Community Work Group made up of 11 community members who bring a diverse set of perspectives and experiences to the process. Learn more about them here.

What's next?

During the first and second phases of this process, the Work Group has heard from over 700 community members and key stakeholders through 17 different workshops, focus groups, listening sessions, online surveys, and community conversations. View summaries of what we've heard in the News Feed below.

In the next phase, the Work Group will use what they've learned to identify draft strategies, metrics and actions. Those will then be shared back out with the community and key stakeholders so the Work Group can collect additional input and use it to make changes.

How to engage

This page is the place for the City to share information about our homeless response efforts, and for the public to have their questions answered, provide feedback, and share ideas. Our goal is a productive dialogue that leads to real actions that balance the needs of the unsheltered with the impacts on the community.

A variety of engagement tools will be available below as we continue through this process.

Immediate, emergency actions

Homelessness affects all of Thurston County, but is most visible within the urban hub of downtown Olympia. In July 2018, the Olympia City Council declared a public health emergency related to homelessness. Doing so enables the City to respond to the needs in the community more quickly.

The City is addressing the immediate, emergency needs with a variety of actions and strategies including:

  • Mitigation Site(s);
  • the Plum Street Tiny House Village;
  • a City & Faith Community Pilot Partnership;
  • Expansion of 24/7 shelter options;
  • Mobile Crisis Response and Familiar Faces teams;
  • Secure storage for homeless individuals' belongings; and
  • a Rapid Response Team that monitors City-owned property to prevent new unmanaged encampments.

Learn more about all of our homeless response actions at olympiawa.gov/homelessness and sign up for email updates at olympiawa.gov/subscribe.

Long-term strategies & actions

In March 2019, the City began a process to identify how we, as a regional community, will respond (in the long-term) to the homelessness crisis. This includes planning for the needs of residents, visitors, business owners and individuals experiencing homelessness.

The end result will be a community-driven Homeless Response Plan that includes a variety of strategies and actions, individual organizations or multiple partners who will take the lead on actions, and metrics to help us track our progress over time.

This process is hosted and shepherded by a Community Work Group made up of 11 community members who bring a diverse set of perspectives and experiences to the process. Learn more about them here.

What's next?

During the first and second phases of this process, the Work Group has heard from over 700 community members and key stakeholders through 17 different workshops, focus groups, listening sessions, online surveys, and community conversations. View summaries of what we've heard in the News Feed below.

In the next phase, the Work Group will use what they've learned to identify draft strategies, metrics and actions. Those will then be shared back out with the community and key stakeholders so the Work Group can collect additional input and use it to make changes.

How to engage

This page is the place for the City to share information about our homeless response efforts, and for the public to have their questions answered, provide feedback, and share ideas. Our goal is a productive dialogue that leads to real actions that balance the needs of the unsheltered with the impacts on the community.

A variety of engagement tools will be available below as we continue through this process.

  • So far in this process, we have heard from over 700 community members and stakeholders by way of listening sessions, workshops, and surveys. We’ve taken that input and identified draft strategies, actions, and metrics. 

    Now we need to hear from you—did we get it right?

    This survey will close on November 17.

    So far in this process, we have heard from over 700 community members and stakeholders by way of listening sessions, workshops, and surveys. We’ve taken that input and identified draft strategies, actions, and metrics. 

    Now we need to hear from you—did we get it right?

    This survey will close on November 17.

    Take Survey
  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    As we launch the process to develop a long-term Homeless Response Plan, we would like to start by learning more about the homelessness crisis and its impacts on our community. The purpose of this survey is to help us better understand what you are currently experiencing, feeling, and thinking about this complex issue.

    This survey closed on May 30

    Your input will be used to help the Community Work Group have a broader understanding of what’s currently happening in our community around homelessness, and to identify areas in which need to learn more.

    It will also shape the

    As we launch the process to develop a long-term Homeless Response Plan, we would like to start by learning more about the homelessness crisis and its impacts on our community. The purpose of this survey is to help us better understand what you are currently experiencing, feeling, and thinking about this complex issue.

    This survey closed on May 30

    Your input will be used to help the Community Work Group have a broader understanding of what’s currently happening in our community around homelessness, and to identify areas in which need to learn more.

    It will also shape the kinds of conversations and dialogue we need to have as part of this process to move towards identifying shared solutions.


    Take Survey
  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    On Thursday, March 28, the City of Olympia held a listening session to hear from a wide variety of resource providers about the homelessness crisis and its impacts on our community.  If you were unable to attend session, but would like to share your input, please take the survey below.

    This survey closed on April 19

    Your input will be used to help the Community Work Group understand what’s currently happening in our community around homelessness, and to identify areas in which we need to learn more.  It will also shape the kinds of conversations and

    On Thursday, March 28, the City of Olympia held a listening session to hear from a wide variety of resource providers about the homelessness crisis and its impacts on our community.  If you were unable to attend session, but would like to share your input, please take the survey below.

    This survey closed on April 19

    Your input will be used to help the Community Work Group understand what’s currently happening in our community around homelessness, and to identify areas in which we need to learn more.  It will also shape the kinds of conversations and dialogue we have as part of this process going forward.

    Take Survey