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Temporary Shelters

Faith-Based and Non-Profit Organization Can Host Temporary Shelters 

Faith-based and non-profit organizations in Tacoma can support individuals experiencing homelessness by hosting a temporary shelter on property they own or control. These partnerships present an opportunity for the city and community to work together to increase shelter capacity.


Sponsoring organizations of temporary shelters can customize the set-up of their temporary shelter to optimize their physical space, operational capacity and align with community need.


Temporary shelters can:

  • Operate for up to six months
  • Be located at any structure or property controlled by the organization
  • Request support from the city to determine a service plan, assess location feasibility, and get support through the permitting process
  • Determine their own hours of operation and population served
  • Be operated by the organization (including volunteers) or by an external agency

View a detailed list of requirements in Tacoma Municipal Code 13.06.080.


We Can Help You Get Started

We understand that establishing and operating a temporary shelter may not be your organization's primary expertise. We are available to assist you every step of the way, including determining whether or not temporary sheltering is the right fit for your organization or how you can support our neighbors experiencing homelessness in other ways. 


Contact us by completing an initial intake questionnaire online or reach us by phone at (253) 591-5000.


Prior to opening, sponsoring organizations must:

  • Obtain a Land Use and Building Permit with the City of Tacoma (per TMC 13.05)
  • Provide a contact person who can work with the City and report on services
  • Complete a fire safety walkthrough with the Tacoma Fire Department 
  • Provide volunteer staff for fire watch, if determined necessary by the Fire Department

Once your organization has determined your operations and funding plans, it's time to start the permitting process. You can start your permitting application online or contact the permitting team at (253) 591-5030.