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Homelessness Services

Addressing Homelessness in Tacoma

The City of Tacoma has been operating under a Declaration of State of Public Health Emergency since 2017 to address the health and safety concerns caused by growing encampments.

The Tacoma City Council passed Ordinance 28430, on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, declaring a state of public health emergency, and has subsequently extended the ordinance several times with the current metric for completion changing from a fixed date until 95% of individuals unsheltered individuals identified during the annual Pierce County Point-in-Time count have access to shelter for three consecutive years.

The Emergency Declaration provides the City the ability to more rapidly adapt policy and allocate funding to provide shelter and resources to people living in encampments in Tacoma. Encampments pose safety and health concerns for people living in them and around them as they create concerns about human waste, garbage, exposure to communicable diseases, exposure to violence and other human health concerns.


2020 City Council and Committee Presentations

Date  Presented At Presentation Video
May 8, 2020

 City Council Meeting

Tacoma Emergency Micro-Shelters 60th and McKinley Video
September 15, 2020
City Council Study Session Homelessness Program Update Video
September 29, 2020 City Council Study Session Tacoma Emergency Micro-Shelters at 602 N Orchard St Video

2019 City Council and Committee Presentations

Date Presented At Presentation Meeting Recording
April 16, 2019 City Council Study Session     Responding to Homelessness Video
April 25, 2019 Community Vitality and Safety meeting City Funded Homelessness Programs Video
May 7, 2019 City Council meeting Emergency Shelter Expansion Video 
July 16, 2019 City Council Study Session Stability Site Update Video
July 25, 2019  Community Vitality and Safety meeting  Homelessness Programs Update Video 
October 1, 2019  Committee of the Whole Stability Site Recommendations Video 
November 19, 2019  City Council Study Session Emergency Declaration on Homelessness Extension  Video 

2018 City Council and Committee Presentations


Date Presented At
Meeting Recording 
March 20, 2018 City Council meeting
Temporary Shelters Permanent Regulations Video
March 27, 2018
Council Study Session
Temporary Shelters Permanent Regulations
July 10, 2018 Council Study Session
Encampment Response Map Presentation
September 18, 2018  Committee of the Whole  Stability Site Update  N/A


2017 City Council and Committee Presentations

Date Presented At Presentation Meeting Recording
June 6, 2017 City Council Study Session Emergency Homeless Response Update  Video
August 22, 2017 City Council Study Session Emergency Temporary Aid and Sheltering Presentation  Video
October 3, 2017  City Council Study Session State of Emergency On Homelessness and Interim Shelters Zoning  Video
October 10, 2017 City Council Study Session Emergency Temporary Shelters Interim Regs Presentation  Video


A Comprehensive Approach for a Complex Issue

The City’s comprehensive approach to addressing homelessness includes several approaches to address the needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. We recognize the barriers to housing are a unique combination for everyone, which means services and amenities must be flexible and fluid.

The City allocated an investment of $10.9 million in homeless service contracts, inclement weather services, emergency declaration funding and encampment cleanups this biennium. Services that we fund include:

  • Emergency Overnight Shelter
  • Day Shelter
  • Crisis Residential Center for Youth (ages 12-17)
  • Young Adult (ages 18-24) Overnight Shelter
  • Youth and Young Adult Day Services
  • Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Programs
  • Street Outreach and Engagement
  • Complimentary Services
  • Coordinated Entry Services
  • Permanent Supportive Housing

The City made an additional capital investment of $1.6 million in 2019 to help fund Tacoma Rescue Mission’s 50-bed shelter expansion that is set to open in spring 2020.


A Coordinated Effort

The City recognizes homelessness is a regional issue and will take a regional, coordinated approach. We continue to work with our neighboring jurisdictions and engage with local, state and federal leaders to help generate innovative solutions. Read more about our regional efforts through the Continuum of Care.

The City has adopted a coordinated multi-departmental approach to our homelessness solutions. Currently we are working on several initiatives, projects and programs with internal and external partners.


Homelessness Stakeholder Engagement Convenings

The City of Tacoma and the Metropolitan Development Council (MDC) are collaborating to bring together faith-based organizations, community nonprofits, homeless advocates, people experiencing homelessness and interested community members to increase emergency shelter capacity and address homelessness in Tacoma. Read more.


Homeless Outreach Team

The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) includes four Tacoma Police Department Officers, two Neighborhood and Community Services staff and one Designated Crisis Responder.


Available Overnight Shelters in Pierce County


City Authorized Emergency Shelter Sites

City Authorized Emergency Shelter sites are permitted under the Declaration of State of Public Health Emergency. Read more.


Young Adult Overnight Shelter

Comprehensive Life Resources is the City’s partner in providing shelter services dedicated for young adults ages 18-24. Read more.


Affordable Housing Action Strategy

Tacoma's Affordable Housing Action Strategy (AHAS) calls for a range of actions to address housing challenges. Read more.


Frequently Asked Questions and Glossary of Terms 

Want more information? View the Frequently Asked Questions web page or the City of Tacoma's Glossary of Terms for the Emergency Aid and Shelter Plan.


To access housing services, contact 

Coordinated Entry

(253) 682-3401


To learn about hosting a temporary shelter, contact

Tiegan Tidball

Systems Analyst


For all other inquiries, contact

Erica Azcueta

Program Manager