• City of Tacoma QA
  • City of Tacoma Data

Homelessness Services

Addressing Homelessness in Tacoma

The City of Tacoma has been operating under a Declaration of State of Public Health Emergency since 2017 to address the health and safety concerns caused by growing encampments.

The Tacoma City Council passed Ordinance 28430, on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, declaring a state of public health emergency, and has subsequently extended the ordinance several times with the current metric for completion changing from a fixed date until 95% of individuals unsheltered individuals identified during the annual Pierce County Point-in-Time count have access to shelter for three consecutive years.

The Emergency Declaration provides the City the ability to more rapidly adapt policy and allocate funding to provide shelter and resources to people living in encampments in Tacoma. Encampments pose safety and health concerns for people living in them and around them as they create concerns about human waste, garbage, exposure to communicable diseases, exposure to violence and other human health concerns.


A Comprehensive Approach for a Complex Issue

The City’s comprehensive approach to addressing homelessness includes several approaches to address the needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. We recognize the barriers to housing are a unique combination for everyone, which means services and amenities must be flexible and fluid.

The City allocated an investment of $10.9 million in homeless service contracts, inclement weather services, emergency declaration funding and encampment cleanups this biennium. Services that we fund include:

  • Emergency Overnight Shelter
  • Day Shelter
  • Crisis Residential Center for Youth (ages 12-17)
  • Young Adult (ages 18-24) Overnight Shelter
  • Youth and Young Adult Day Services
  • Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Programs
  • Street Outreach and Engagement
  • Complimentary Services
  • Coordinated Entry Services
  • Permanent Supportive Housing

The City made an additional capital investment of $1.6 million in 2019 to help fund Tacoma Rescue Mission’s 50-bed shelter expansion that is set to open in spring 2020.


A Coordinated Effort

The City recognizes homelessness is a regional issue and will take a regional, coordinated approach. We continue to work with our neighboring jurisdictions and engage with local, state and federal leaders to help generate innovative solutions.

The City has adopted a coordinated multi-departmental approach to our homelessness solutions. Currently we are working on several initiatives, projects and programs with internal and external partners.


Homelessness Stakeholder Engagement Convenings

The City of Tacoma and the Metropolitan Development Council (MDC) are collaborating to bring together faith-based organizations, community nonprofits, homeless advocates, people experiencing homelessness and interested community members to increase emergency shelter capacity and address homelessness in Tacoma. 


Homeless Outreach Team

The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) includes four Tacoma Police Department Officers, one Neighborhood and Community Services staff and one Designated Crisis Responder.


City Authorized Emergency Shelter Sites

City Authorized Emergency Shelter sites are permitted under the Declaration of State of Public Health Emergency. Read more.


Young Adult Overnight Shelter

Comprehensive Life Resources is the City’s partner in providing shelter services dedicated for young adults ages 18-24. Read more.


Affordable Housing Action Strategy

Tacoma's Affordable Housing Action Strategy (AHAS) calls for a range of actions to address housing challenges. Read more.


Frequently Asked Questions and Glossary of Terms 

Want more information? View the Frequently Asked Questions web page or the City of Tacoma's Glossary of Terms for the Emergency Aid and Shelter Plan.


To access housing services, contact 

Coordinated Entry

(253) 682-3401


To learn about hosting a temporary shelter, contact

Tiegan Tidball

Systems Analyst


For all other inquiries, contact

Erica Azcueta

Homelessness and Household Stability Program Manager