During a January 2020 meeting where LWVTC members considered League Program Planning for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, homelessness was identified as an area of focus.

Homelessness in Thurston County has been a problem, or at least an area of concern, for many years.  There have been many planning activities carried out,  considerable attention paid, and much work done by a wide range of individuals and organizations around this topic.  A recent example is the City of Olympia One Community Plan.  This plan website for this can be seen here.

Although our League held a public program on homelessness issues in 2016 (click here to see more about this event), much has changed since then.  In addition, there has been little direct involvement by the League as an organization in the interim.

On September 24, 2020, during a general membership meeting, initial steps were taken to begin increasing our understanding of and involvement in this issue.  A presentation by Cynthia Stewart, the Housing and Homelessness Lead on the LWVWA Lobby Team, provided extremely useful background information.  Click here to see information from her presentation.

During the LWVTC October Board Meeting, there will be discussion about possible approaches for continued work in this area.   Visit this web page again towards the end of October to see what decisions were made.



Regional Housing Action Plan Forum


The public is invited to a Regional Housing Action Plan Forum on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 from 5-6:30 pm. This will be an online/virtual event, via Zoom, and participants must register to attend (see link below).

The Cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater in collaboration with Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) are developing a regional housing action plan. Join us as we share key findings about our region’s housing needs/gaps and the types of actions the cities are contemplating to encourage construction of more housing, more housing options, affordability and stability for residents.

There will be a short presentation at the start of the event, followed by an opportunity for the public to ask questions. The event will be recorded and posted to the project website for those unable to make it.



About the Regional Housing Action Plan


In 2019, the Washington state legislature made grant funds available to cities to develop housing action plans. In recognition of our shared housing market and the cross-jurisdictional need for affordable housing, the Cities of Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater jointly applied for and received funds to collaborate on this effort. The project includes:

  • A housing needs assessment, including a 25-year projection of housing affordable at different income levels (see details here)
  • A rental survey, to better understand what residents are paying for rent and how rents are changing
  • A menu of actions cites can take to ensure housing stock adequate and affordable for current and future residents

This regional work will be complete in late January. From there, each city will identify which actions it will take. Olympia will provide further opportunity for public comment this spring before adopting its specific housing action plan in June 2021. This is a continuation of ongoing work by the City of Olympia to address housing needs; it informs the process for how we use data to measure success, annual work plans, and a periodic Comprehensive Plan update.
Over fifty actions are contemplated to address the following identified housing gaps:

  • Affordability. Reduce the cost of housing for low-income and cost-burdened households.
  • Supply. Increase the inventory of housing for all households.
  • Variety. Increase the variety of housing sizes and types
  • Seniors. Increase the stock of housing options needed for aging seniors.
  • Improvements. Maintain the existing housing stock, including improving energy efficiency and air quality.
  • Stability. Increase household wealth by providing safe, stable options for rental housing and pathways to homeownership.
  • Supportive Housing. Increase permanent housing options for people with disabilities and those at risk of or experiencing homelessness.



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