Olympia’s Homeless Youth, Learning More

March 12, 2011


In 2006 the Thurston County Homeless Census reported 654 homeless students in school (K-12) and 441 youths across the county not in school (documented through canvasing and interviews). By 2010 these numbers had jumped by 94% among students and 121% among homeless youths not attending school for a countywide homeless population of over 2200 youths (that’s over 3% of Thurston county’s youth population!).

If you would like to learn about homelessness among youth in Oly you might check out a local documentary called Downtowners:

Downtowners is 47 minute documentary film that shares the voices of young people who are homeless in Olympia Washington, as they explore issues such as sexual violence, public space, gender roles, street culture, and community perceptions. These voices inspire a connection and understanding seldom experienced by those who lack direct experience with the streets. Often referred to as “at-risk”, “marginalized”, or “disadvantaged”, these youth and young adults live on the fringes of society, and their struggles include uncertainty, instability, barriers to resources and lack of support in creating solutions. In an effort to raise awareness by deepening the dialogue about issues of youth homelessness and sexual violence, Downtowners introduces street life from the perspective of the young people who live it.

For more information about the numbers provided in the Thurston County Homeless Census contact Olympia’s Housing Program Manager Anna Schlecht.

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2 Responses to “Olympia’s Homeless Youth, Learning More”

  1. Karen Wulf Says:

    Watched this video-thanks for posting. If in doubt of what/whether to give money or food to a homeless one, there need never be a doubt that a very legitimate need of every human being is to be validated as worthwhile, one of God’s “loved ones.” Thanks for giving the numbers a face via this video and calling attention to this piece of humanity.

    • joewulf Says:

      I know I was really surprised by the video. We all see the homeless community but they hardly ever make it beyond being just that: a nameless, faceless, monolithic, often dehumanized group.


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