The nation is confronted with a homeless crisis on a scale not seen since the Great Depression that has only deepened with the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Homelessness is a complex issue. The lack of affordable housing plays a substantial role in the rise of homelessness. In other cases, behavioral health issues, such as mental illness or an addiction to drugs and alcohol, is the entry into homelessness or reasons for its continuance. Other reasons include: health issues, job loss, stagnant wages, rising rent, divorce, and other substantial life changing events, or some compounding combination of all of the above. The lack of a consistent and coordinated strategy means the impact of homelessness is disproportionately borne by local communities and jurisdictions across the nation. This is the case in Thurston County.
The City recognizes that there is an on-going crisis and that those that are most vulnerable to the impacts of homelessness are the individuals that experience it on regular or infrequent basis. This crisis is clearly one of the most daunting challenges of our times.
The City also recognizes that cities are ill-equipped to address the root causes and resulting consequences of homelessness. That being said, the City strives to work collaboratively with community partners to provide social service resources to individuals experiencing homelessness in Lacey, as well as services to prevent homelessness from occurring.
The City is currently actively engaged in a number of initiatives and programs aimed at disrupting the root causes of homelessness, increasing and maintaining affordable housing stock in the community, and preventing or reducing experiences of homelessness. The City engages in this work in four distinct ways:
Through this work, the goal of the City is to provide and support services in the community that are done with compassion, enhance public safety and wellbeing for all, and are legal. The following provides a brief overview of the ways the City of Lacey is working on this issue in the community.