Open House for the 2021 Comprehensive Plan to End Homelessness

woman on bench
Ending Homelessness in Pierce County


Two groups of dedicated service providers, community members and people with lived experience are working to create the 2021 Comprehensive Plan to End Homelessness. We are actively gathering feedback from the community. Please click the button below to take our survey and tell us your thoughts about how we can end homelessness in Pierce County.

Homelessness by the Numbers


Currently, there are an estimated 3,300 people in Pierce County experiencing homelessness. 

There are 998 emergency shelter beds and 15 safe parking units across the county, leaving about 2,287 people without shelter each night. This means an estimated 70% of people experiencing homelessness must find shelter in their car, an encampment, or elsewhere.

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 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.

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. 

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 15 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 3 safe parking locations in Pierce County.
      • South Hill
      • 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.

HS_PC_Map with Shelters Encampments V5

How You Can Help


Please click the button below to take our survey and tell us your thoughts about how we can end homelessness in Pierce County. Your feedback will be used to complete the 2021 Plan to End Homelessness.

tent downtown

    Gerrit Nyland 

    Social Services Supervisor

    [email protected]