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City of Seattle, WA

06/02/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/02/2021 12:38

Human Services Department Provides Update on Three New Tiny House Village Projects

All three projects are anticipated to open this summer, operated by the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), and add new shelter capacity

The City of Seattle's Human Services Department (HSD) provided an update on three new tiny house village projects set to open this summer that will add over 100 new tiny house units to the City's shelter system, serving up to 145 individuals. These projects were proposed and approved as part of the 2021 budget and build on the City's year-long work to address the impacts of COVID-19 by de-intensifying shelters, creating new enhanced shelter space, developing two hotel based shelter programs, and standing-up tiny house villages.

This spring, HSD selected the sites, completed a request for proposal process, and selected a provider, LIHI. These programs will offer onsite case management services, including connections to behavioral health supports, and to permanent housing that help end a person's experience with homelessness. Onsite amenities will also include access to hygiene and communal kitchens.

'For over a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought tremendous challenges to all of Seattle, but especially to our homelessness crisis. During the pandemic, Seattle allocated unprecedented resources to address immediate impacts of the pandemic, such as creating a safer 24/7 enhanced shelter system, providing food access, and expanding hygiene resources, but we know that we must continue creating long-term investments in housing to address the scale of the crisis,' said Mayor Jenny Durkan. 'These new investments in tiny home villages are effective shelter options to end a person's experience with homelessness and add much needed new shelter capacity to offer more individuals safer spaces who are living in our parks and sidewalks.'

We are looking forward to these new tiny house shelter resources coming online. Thank you to Mayor Durkan, the City Council, Sound Transit, the Port of Seattle, LIHI, and the communities that will host these programs. Through these partnerships, we will ensure more people have a safe place to find help in their time of need.

Helen Howell, Interim Director of HSD

'Unsheltered homelessness in our streets, greenways, and parks has increased during the COVID pandemic and we need action to help those in need,' said Alex Pedersen, Seattle City Councilmember for District 4. 'I believe that well-organized tiny house villages as part of the Durkan Administration's shelter surge can be a cost-effective intervention when coupled with professional case management and performance-based contracts. Rather than just talking about it, we did the legwork to find a suitable short-term location and funding for the new Rosie's Tiny House Village and I'm pleased we are able to stand up this organized shelter quickly thanks to Sound Transit, our City's Human Services Department, and caring neighbors and small businesses.'

'My office anticipated the expansion of tiny home villages in District 5. We partnered with community members to successfully pass funding in the 2021 budget for two outreach workers dedicated to the Lake City neighborhood. Since beginning their work in March, they've laid the groundwork to build trusting relationships with folks living unsheltered,' said Debora Juarez, Seattle City Councilmember for District 5. 'I'm confident we are poised to quickly utilize these new resources and move folks into stable housing on day one of the Friendship Heights opening.'

'The tiny homes at Interbay help members of our community transition into permanent housing, a critical first step towards improving individual lives and reducing economic inequity in our region,' said Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. 'Expanding this unique program fits with the Port's economic development mission and our commitment to support quality of life in the region. We want to acknowledge the efforts by the City of Seattle, LIHI, the Magnolia community, and the tiny home residents who made this village a success story.'

LIHI is particularly excited about partnering with the City of Seattle, Sound Transit and the Port of Seattle on three new tiny house villages. More than one hundred people living outside will soon have safe, dignified shelter and access to the services they need to secure stable housing. Over 170 homeless people died living on the streets last year in King County, no one should die from homelessness.

Sharon Lee, Executive Director of LIHI

Rosie's Tiny House Village

Rosie's Village is expected to provide 36 new tiny house units and serve up to 50 people experiencing homelessness. The village will be located at 1000 NE 45th Street and includes hygiene facilities with restrooms, showers, and laundry, community kitchen and spaces for meeting, dining, and community gatherings. Services offered onsite will include housing case management and behavioral health supports to help participants address barriers to obtaining and maintaining permanent housing.

The City plans to lease the property from Sound Transit, with LIHI serving as the operator. Development of the site will start pending final lease negotiations and approval from City Council. The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process has been completed for the site. Sound Transit will later develop the property into transit-oriented development.

A community meeting regarding this new program was hosted by LIHI on April 15 and included a panel with representatives from HSD and Sound Transit, and Councilmember Pedersen. A new Community Advisory Council (CAC) will be formed to support both the surrounding community and village residents.

Friendship Heights Tiny House Village

Located at 12245 Aurora Ave N, the Friendship Heights Village will be approximately 20,400 square feet and will provide 35 to 40 new tiny house units that could serve up to 55 people. LIHI has entered into a religious sponsorship with Epic Life Church and is exploring opportunities for a second church to cosponsor the village. LIHI completed the purchase agreement today, June 2, and development of the site is planned to begin later this month.

LIHI, HSD, and Department of Neighborhoods (DON) have begun the community engagement process and will host a community meeting on the new project in the coming weeks. This program will also form a CAC to support the village and community.

Interbay Tiny House Village Expansion

The City has submitted a request to the Port of Seattle to expand the current Interbay Tiny House Village to provide an additional 30 new tiny house units and a hygiene facility. These new units are expected to serve up to an additional 40 people. Pending Port of Seattle and City Council approval and conclusion of the SEPA process, this expansion is planned to begin this summer and will increase the number of units of the entire village to 76.

The City has leased the existing site from the Port of Seattle since November 2017. Since the village's opening, 246 households/people have been served, with 35% of all exits going into permanent housing. The Interbay Tiny House Village will maintain its CAC and more information on the expansion will be shared with community as plans are finalized.

The Port of Seattle and LIHI will host media availability at the Interbay site this afternoon, June 2 at 1:30 PM. Speakers will include Commissioner Stephanie Bowman and LIHI Executive Director Sharon Lee.

Referrals

Referrals to these tiny house villages will be coordinated by the City's HOPE Team. The HOPE Team will work with City-contracted outreach providers to connect people living unsheltered in Seattle to these new resources. So far this year, the HOPE Team, in partnership with it's outreach partners, has made 465 referrals to City-funded shelter programs, such as tiny house villages, enhanced shelter, and hotel-based shelters.

Seattle as a Tiny House Village Leader

Beginning in 2017, the City's tiny house village program, which currently consists of eight city-funded villages and approximately 300 units, became some of the most sought after shelter resources in Seattle. Providing individuals with four walls and a door that locks and accessible onsite services, tiny house villages have high success rates of transitioning people from shelter into permanent housing.

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