Outlook: Stormy, concerns for the future
Thurston County had a goal of reducing homelessness by 50% in ten years (2006-2015); the reality was that since 2006, homelessness increased by over 30%, and homeless students increased by over 80%.
People of all backgrounds can be homeless. Families with children, single adults, elderly individuals, veterans, and youth all experience homelessness. Homelessness is a national problem not confined to cities: it exists in suburban neighborhoods, small towns, and rural areas too.
What are we measuring?
Number of homeless people; number of homeless students (Thurston County Homeless Census).
Given the homeless census results, it appears that our county has not made progress in reducing homelessness. Changing this trend will likely rely on the following:
Continued Leadership from the Homeless Coordinator and the HOME Citizens Advisory Committee (HCAC).
Better coordinated system entry points. Local non-profit service and shelter providers continuing to strengthen the work of three coordinated system entry points: SideWalk (single adults) Family Support Center (families) and Community Youth Services (unaccompanied youth 17 and under and transition-age youth ages 18 to 22).
Successful “Rapid Re-housing” through increased HOME Consortium rental assistance funding.
Stronger economy with a local reduction in unemployment.