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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.


2021 City Council and Committee Presentations

Date Presented At Presentation Video
March 30, 2021 Study Session Homelessness Update  Video 
February 23, 2021 Study Session Homelessness Update Video
February 9, 2021 Study Session Encampment Basic Services Video
February 2, 2021 Study Session Encampment Mitigation Pilot Program Video

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

We recognize that barriers to housing are a unique combination for everyone, which means services and amenities must be flexible and fluid.

For the 2021-2022 biennium, we are investing $16.8 million in homelessness response services. Our funding sources include the City General Fund, COVID relief funding, WA State Commerce Department funding and the Mental Health Substance Use Disorder Sales Tax.


Services that we fund include:

  • Homeless outreach and site reclamation
  • Complementary services, such as food and furniture banks
  • Housing programs, such as permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing 
  • Homelessness prevention and diversion programs, such as COVID related rental assistance
  • Permanent sheltering for individuals, families, youth and young adults
  • Emergency sheltering, including the Stability Site and Tacoma Emergency Mirco-Shelters (TEMS)
  • Temporary Sheltering hosted by non-profits and faith based organization

Search for sheltering in Tacoma and Pierce County. 


A Coordinated Effort

We recognize that homelessness is a regional issue and requires a regional, coordinated approach. We 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.

In addition, we coordinate a multi-departmental approach to our homelessness solutions, which includes several initiatives, projects and programs with internal and external partners.


Homeless Outreach Team

The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) includes four Tacoma Police Department Officers, a Code Compliance officer, two outreach staff and one Designated Crisis Responder.


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

Program manager email