Homelessness in Pierce County

woman on bench
Ending Homelessness in Pierce County


Two groups of dedicated service providers, community members and people with lived experience have created the Comprehensive Plan to End Homelessness

Pierce County Human Services is currently developing an implementation plan. Stay updated on progress of the Comprehensive Plan to End Homelessness here.

Homelessness by the Numbers


As of July 2022, there are an estimated 4,300 people in Pierce County experiencing homelessness. 

There are 1,300 emergency shelter beds and 30 safe parking units across the county, leaving about 2,970 people without shelter each night. This means an estimated 70% of people experiencing homelessness must find shelter in their car, an encampment, or elsewhere.

Where do people experiencing homelessness live?


There are individuals experiencing homelessness in every region in Pierce County. 

Homelessness is not just a big city problem. The causes of homelessness can affect people living in urban and rural areas.

Not all people experiencing homelessness sleep outside. Many are living in emergency shelters, their vehicles or some form of transitional housing. 

Who experiences homelessness and why?


While families, children and youth are all affected, most of the people who experience homelessness are single adults. The reality is that there is no such thing as a 'typical' person experiencing homelessness. No one is absolutely safe from experiencing homelessness.

The personal circumstances that may lead to homelessness are many, and can afflict people from virtually every community. People become unhoused when individual and family problems become insurmountable. This may include catastrophic events; loss of employment; family break up; family violence; onset of mental and/or other debilitating illnesses; substance use by oneself or family members; a history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse; and, involvement in the child welfare system.

Based off Point-In-Time Count data, the most common reasons people in Pierce County say they experience homelessness is due to a family crisis and not enough affordable housing. Using that same data, we also know that over 70% of people experiencing homelessness in Pierce County are from Pierce County. When people become homeless, they often stay near the community they're used to.

Types of Shelters

Shelters are temporary places to live that provide protection from the weather. They have bathrooms and handwashing stations on site, as well as access to laundry, food or food preparation, storage for possessions and showers. Below are the most common types of shelters found in Pierce County, including their locations:

  • Communal Sleeping - Shelters where sleeping areas are shared by multiple households. Examples include large dormitories and gymnasiums.
    • There are 7 communal sleeping shelters in Pierce County. 
      • Bethelehem Baptist Family Shelter
      • Beacon Youth Shelter
      • Nativity House
      • Tacoma Rescue Mission - Men
      • Tacoma Rescue Mission - Women
      • Tacoma Rescue Mission - Single Adults
      • Tacoma Salvation Army - Single Adults
  • Private Sleeping - Shelters where households have private sleeping rooms, but bathrooms, showers and dining/food preparation areas are shared. Examples include tiny home villages.
    • There are 19 private sleeping shelters in Pierce County. *Note: The map and locations below do not include three confidential shelters for youth and young adults and people fleeing domestic violence.
      • Tacoma Rescue Mission - Family Shelter
      • LIHI Village at 6th and Orchard
      • Serra House
      • New Directions - Hope ES
      • Altheimer Memorial Church Family Shelter
      • Stability Site
      • Puyallup Tribe Tiny House Village
      • Helping Hand House
      • LIHI McKinley Village
      • Roosevelt Barracks Crisis Residential Center
      • Tacoma Salvation Army - Family Shelter
      • LASA - Family Shelter
  • Apartments or Hotels - Shelters where households have private sleeping, bathroom, shower and often dining/food preparation areas.
    • There is 1 hotel shelter in Pierce County.
      • Puyallup Hotel Shelter
  • Safe Parking - A place individuals can live in cars or RVs, where bathrooms and handwashing stations are available on site.
    • There are 4 safe parking locations in Pierce County.
      • South Hill
      • Spanaway
      • Hilltop, Tacoma
      • South End, Tacoma

Sanctioned encampments are places where people live in tents or other structures. There are currently no sanctioned encampments in Pierce County.



Gerrit Nyland

Social Services Supervisor

[email protected]