City of Lacey Provides and Supports Programs and Services to Reduce Homelessness in the Community

LACEY, WA, December 16, 2021: Transparent government, quality service, and community leadership are foundational goals of the City of Lacey (City). With these goals in mind, the following is an accurate account of the City’s involvement with, and services provided to, homeless encampments in Lacey over the past two years.

During the noted time period, most homeless encampments in Lacey have been located on state-owned property. During the eviction moratorium, the City worked with WSDOT to provide direct social service outreach to individuals living on state-owned properties. Later, this service was also requested by the Department of Enterprise Services for the Department of Ecology property in Lacey. As part of this agreement, current encampment occupants were allowed to stay (and remain post-moratorium), however, no new individuals were allowed to join these encampments. The City of Lacey has never “swept” these encampments during, or after, the eviction moratorium.

Photo of the Workgroup on Homelessness meeting in the Lacey City Hall Council Chambers
The Community Workgroup on Homelessness meets in the Council Chambers of Lacey City Hall to discuss strategies.

Throughout the moratorium and continuing today, the City of Lacey’s Community Resource Unit (CRU) and Mobile Outreach Team (MOT) have provided continuous outreach to encampments throughout Lacey to help connect some of the community’s most vulnerable members to social service resources. The MOT, formed in August 2021, is a partnership between the City of Lacey and Olympic Health and Recovery Services. The team, consisting of two crisis clinicians and two peer specialists, is on call 7 days a week to help individuals connect with social services. The City of Lacey’s direct social service outreach has helped reduce the number of individuals living in encampments in Lacey – not evictions or “sweeps.” To date, the City of Lacey has experienced a 77% decrease in encampments on public property. And, in the past three months alone, the MOT referred over 194 individuals to social services in the greater community. The City’s efforts over the past two years have demonstrated that the provision of wrap-around services is essential to helping individuals experiencing homelessness. The City of Lacey’s CRU, MOT, and Rapid Response Team, which cleans up abandoned debris left in public spaces, have helped some of our most vulnerable community members connect with needed social services to reduce, mitigate, and prevent experiences of homelessness in the community.

The City of Lacey strives to work collaboratively with a variety of community partners to provide social service resources to individuals experiencing homelessness in Lacey. This includes providing direct social service outreach as detailed above; participating in coordinated efforts with regional and community partners; providing funding to support the work of nonprofits and other governmental entities; and advocating for more comprehensive solutions to homelessness at the state and federal levels.

Several recent programs and projects the City has supported include participating in the creation of the Regional Housing Council; providing funding to Senior Services, Family Support Center of South Sound, Interfaith Works, Lacey Food Bank Project, the Lacey Veterans Services Hub, and others; leading efforts to create sustained regional funding sources for affordable housing efforts through Community Development Block Grant funding; waiving building permit fees for Habitat for Humanity; creating innovative policies and programs aimed at increasing affordable housing in our community (e.g., the pre-approved ADU design program); and advocating for more comprehensive solutions to the homeless crisis from the state and federal level.

The City of Lacey’s Community Workgroup on Homelessness (LCWH) invites the public to participate in a second virtual open house now through Friday, January 7, 2022. Participants can visit the online open house any time during the time period to provide input. To learn more about LCWH, the first virtual open house, and Lacey’s overall response to homelessness, visit the LCWH webpage.