The City of Tacoma launched a new online mapping tool that provides real-time information about the city’s response to reported homeless encampments.

Called the “Encampment Response Map,” the tool helps Tacoma residents stay informed about what the city is doing to address the health and safety concerns of those living in and around encampments.

Tacoma, homelessness

Courtesy City of Tacoma’s Encampment Response Map.

The Encampment Response Map shows each individual site with corresponding information about the property, the status of the site, any action taken by the city, and any concerns reported by residents who called 311.

In May 2017, the Tacoma City Council declared a state of public health emergency due to the increasing populations of people living in encampments. Specific concerns included exposure to communicable diseases, exposure to violence, and human waste and garbage issues.

At that time, the city implemented an Emergency Temporary Aid and Sheltering plan, which worked to identify areas of need, establish transitional centers, connect people with social and health services, and eventually expand short-term transitional housing options throughout Pierce County.

According to Results 253, which tracks the city’s progress toward reaching its 2025 goals, the city has increased its affordable housing stock by 206 units and diverted 1,349 people from homelessness as of December 2017. By December 2018, the city aims to further increase affordable housing to 300 total units and divert nearly 1,000 more people from homelessness.