The 2023 Thurston County Point in Time Homeless Census found that 740 individuals were experiencing homelessness - living unsheltered, in a vehicle, or in emergency or transitional housing. While this is a 26% decrease from the high of 995 individuals in 2020, it is estimated that the total number is missing many people who did not consent to being surveyed or are staying with friends and family or in a jail or hospital.
Approximately 59% of homeless individuals were unsheltered in 2022. Unsheltered means living in places not meant for human habitation such as cars, tents, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings, or on the street.
The number of public school students experiencing homelessness increased approximately 22 percent between the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years. The 2022-2023 total of 1,265 students experiencing homelessness is still below the high seen in the 2018-2019 school year of 1,362 students.
Most students who experience homelessness do so in a doubled-up situation. This means they share the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason.
Thurston County Point in Time Homeless Census and Student Homelessness
Thurston County participates in a statewide annual "Point in Time Count of Homeless Persons." This count 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 (OSPI). While the number of students experiencing homelessness does fluctuate throughout the year, OSPI reports the number on October 1st of each school year. Consequently, the total number of students that have experienced homelessness at some point during the year is not reflected.