Thurston County has a challenging battle with homelessness. The City’s 2010 Census states that there are at least 1,300-2,000 homeless people in our community. Attempts to identify the number of homeless children in our county reveal a figure pushing 1,000. These figures have been on the increase for years. The recession puts more children and their care-giver(s) at risk; we are facing harder times, the homeless most of all.
At the same time, due to the current economic reality, budget constraints and other limitations, government and private agencies in Thurston County that have historically provided shelter and emergency housing to children and their care-giver(s) are disappearing. In 2009, the Salvation Army closed its shelter rooms for homeless families, causing a loss of eight units and leaving a significant gap in fundamental services provided to young homeless children and their care-givers.
The causes of homelessness are diverse, and OTW does not seek to address them all. According to the County Census, the ten top Causes of Homelessness in Thurston County are:
Other causes include:
Where the homeless find shelter is also diverse, and what is most telling is that based on the 2010 census, large numbers of the homeless are not finding adequate shelter at all:
Total people = 1,339