The 2016 Thurston County homeless census found that 586 individuals were homeless or lived in emergency or transitional housing. This total is significantly less than the 976 homeless individuals in 2010. Several reasons may account for the decline. Successful new housing resources, a stronger economy, changes in the census methodology, and non-cooperation of some homeless populations, among other factors, may have lowered the count of homeless individuals.
Of the homeless population, approximately 32% were unsheltered (or living in places not meant for human habitation such as cars, tents, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings, or on the street) in 2016.
The number of homeless public school students fell for the first time in the 2015-2016 school year since the 2011-2012 school year. The number of homeless public school students in the 2015-2016 school year (1,521) fell 14% from the previous school year (1,776). Most of the decrease is attributed to the Olympia and Tumwater school districts.
Thurston County Homeless Census and Student Homelessness
Thurston County participates in a statewide annual "Point in Time Count of Homeless Persons" referred to as the "homeless census." This census helps determine the number of homeless people in the county, as well as the causes of their homelessness, and assists in developing a comprehensive strategic response to the issue.
School Districts report the number of students (pre-kindergarten through 12th grade) that experience homelessness during the school year to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.