County program would clean tent encampments, provide on-site support


A program designed to clean tent encampments and provide intensive case management with people living in the camps is in the works.

The “Scattered Site Management Pilot Project” was discussed at last week’s Regional Housing Council (RHC) meeting, and would set new protocols at camps and hire staff to provide on-site support.

The housing council gave a favorable recommendation to keep moving forward with the program, which now is sent over to the Thurston County Board of Commissioners to start the process of hiring a “site governance and case management contractor.”

Olympia’s Assistant City Manager Keith Stahley said the project focuses on providing on-site support that improves the quality of life for people living in the camp and intensive case management to help move folks out of the camp and into permanent housing.

The program is set to run for 12 months once it’s started, with a review six months in to determine if it’s meeting its goals. The county has pledged about $530,000 to go toward this project, with $150,000 earmarked for site management. Meanwhile, the City of Olympia has committed to providing case site management funding beyond the $150,000 pledged by the county, if necessary. Meanwhile, the RHC would commit up to $500,000 to round out funding for the year. Additionally, LOTT Clean Water Alliance agreed to fund an RV-pumping program with up to $50,000.

As it’s currently planned, this new program would put in place specific hygiene requirements at encampments — like portable toilets, handwashing stations and regular trash pickup. It would also help set up camp residents with long-term housing situations.

This project is slated to start at three locations: vehicles along Ensign Road, the encampment off of Deschutes Parkway across from Capitol Lake and the encampment off Wheeler Avenue.

Currently, there are five goals for the project:

  1. Assist those living in vehicles or encampments to successfully move into permanent housing solutions using trauma-informed and harm-reduction principles and through utilizing the full spectrum of sheltering and housing options available in Thurston County.
  2. Reduce the environmental and community impacts that can occur from people living in situations not fit for human habitation.
  3. Track outcomes to determine the effectiveness of the pilot program in addressing items 1 and 2.
  4. Implement a model that can be utilized in any member jurisdiction of the RHC.
  5. Implement a model that can be scaled up to support additional sites, including the operation of a suitable, long-term safe parking location.


1 comment on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here

This sounds fantastic! Is there a possibility for community volunteers to assist? We have taken various supplies to tge Ensign and Martin camps. A guy there makes decorations - uses trunks, tree limbs to plant flowers and plants in. I have one with two rose bushes that will have second year of roses blooming soon. Some very nice people who are trying. I hope this program is very successful.

Friday, March 26