Tiny House Village Opens in Seattle’s Central Area

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Seattle, WA – A new Tiny House Village will be opening at 22nd Ave and E Union St. in Seattle’s Central Area at the end of this month. Property owner, the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, in partnership with the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) and Nickelsville will host the tiny house community on church-owned land. The village will contain 15 tiny houses, a toilet pavilion, a shower pavilion, a kitchen/dining tent and a donation tent to be located at 1419-22nd Avenue. The village provides safe housing for individuals and families currently experiencing homelessness. The village will be managed by Nickelsville, a self managed community, in partnership with LIHI, who will provide social workers and assistance to move the residents into permanent housing. The village was developed as an innovative crisis response to homelessness by moving people into tiny houses instead of tents. Nickelsville will still maintain its two tent encampments, currently located at 1010 S. Dearborn St. and 2826 NW Market Street. “Joining hands with the homeless is a vital part of our mission of reaching out to ALL of our neighbors,” says Pastor Steven Olsen. “Our congregation has cherished its partnership with Nickelsville over the past six years, especially as we have been privileged to welcome the camp to our property for a year, and to continue as their church host in their present location. We are overjoyed to see that partnership expand to include LIHI, Sawhorse Revolution, the Tulalip Tribes, and many others who are working together to create this beautiful new village. To us it is a powerful sign of justice, community and healing in a city where the harmful effects of gentrification have largely been allowed to continue unchecked and unchallenged.” LIHI Board President Melinda Nichols adds: “We’re upping the game with this pilot project. We’ve created some wonderful partnerships and have listened to what the residents of Nickelsville want. Currently, emergency shelters are full, families and singles are being turned away and truly affordable housing is hard to find. This tiny house village will help transition people into more stable housing while in community with others. We’re working with some great partners to create safe and comfortable homes. We hope to see this model replicated and improved upon over time.”

Two new tiny homes built and donated by Walsh Construction have moved in, and on Tuesday volunteers are on site completing constructing of the Tiny House Village. New tiny houses built by the Tulalip Tribe TERO Training Program are also arriving this week.Two Nickelsville residents providing security have moved in and the rest of the tiny houses will be occupied by homeless people by the end of the month. The organizations and pre-apprenticeship programs that have donated their time and energy to build the 15 tiny houses are the Tulalip Tribes TERO Training Program, Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Employment for Women (ANEW), Renton Technical College, Seattle Vocational Institute, the Wood Technology Center out of the Seattle Colleges, Sawhorse Revolution, and Walsh Construction. The tiny houses are all slightly different in design, but will be safe, sturdy structures that will help protect many homeless individuals otherwise forced to sleep on the streets and under overpasses. The houses are 8′ x 12′, the size of a bedroom, and will include electricity, ventilation and insulation. The architects at Environmental Works designed the site plan. The toilet pavilion was built by Sawhorse Revolution and has plumbing and running water–which eliminates the need of port-a-potties. The shower pavilion is funded by the Lucky 7 Foundation. Numerous organizations and individuals donated money to purchase wood and building materials for the houses. The Tiny House Village will be managed by Nickelsville, who has historically implemented a self-governance management structure with house rules and will be ensuring that there is 24-hour security on the site. Nickelsville will take charge of referrals for those moving into the village, and residents will be paying a $90 utility fee per adult to help cover water, electricity, trash and basic services. LIHI will provide case management to help get residents on the path of securing employment and permanent housing. Kitty DeBerry, a current Nickelsville resident, believes that the tiny houses are a good alternative for people experiencing homelessness. “Housing, four solid walls and a door that can close out the world, this is an essential need for a person’s sense of safety, security and stability. The recent movement seen here in Washington, and throughout the nation, of supplying homeless populations with small housing units in long-term communities, has shown a large ray of hope upon a population that can use all the hope it can find.” The partnership among the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, LIHI, Nickelsville, and the many volunteer build groups that have contributed to the project will sponsor a Tiny House Summit in the spring of 2016. The summit will cover lessons learned from this village and will help inform those who wish to join the movement of building tiny houses as an effective crisis response to ending homelessness. For further information or to donate to the tiny house village go to www.LIHI.org

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