Local leaders of Thurston County, along with the Cities of Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, and Yelm, have formalized a new Regional Housing Council (RHC) charged with providing solutions to the regional housing crisis.

The RHC replaces and expands on the work of the former Health and Human Services Council.

“The commitment to working on housing regionally is inspiring,” said Olympia City Council member and chair of the RHC, Jim Cooper, in a prepared statement. “This is the way, and I’m so glad we are doing it together. I look forward to a day when our approach to caring for our less fortunate neighbors is unified across the region. This means meeting them where they are and providing individualized services and supports.”

The RHC’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Making recommendations to regional elected and appointed leaders on funding decisions related to implementing the Homeless Crisis Response Plan (HCRP), and expanding shelter and affordable housing
  • Establishing an annual RHC work plan along with an annual budget
  • Submitting an annual report to the governing body of each jurisdiction

The RHC may also:

  • Monitor the HCRP and support actions necessary to implement the plan
  • Identify and support projects, programs, and policies to increase shelter and affordable housing through the region
  • Identify and support projects, programs, and policies to further the objectives of the HCRP and reduce the number of unsheltered individuals living in the region
  • Identify and support construction and operation of supportive housing in the region
  • Serve as a regional forum for developing and implementing policies, programs, and projects related to homelessness and affordable housing
  • Develop communication protocols to assist local elected officials and the community in understanding the extent and nature of the homeless and housing crisis in the region