Carriage Houses Northwest will be providing 4 tiny house emergency shelters for a new homeless encampment being established in the Greenwood neighborhood by the Low Income Housing Institute. We are in the process of putting together teams of volunteers and construction leads for this project, which we call Vision 20•20•20. We are asking 20 people to each ask 20 friends for a $20 donation. Those same 20 people will show up on March 18th with the money they raised to build the 4 houses. Helping us greatly in this effort is Tom Hayes, a newly retired Shoreline elementary school teacher. To gain insight, Tom visited an established homeless encampment in Seattle’s Capital Hill neighborhood. The following highlights his experience there and provides insight into what we hope to help build in Greenwood.
Tiny House Village Experience (December 2016)
I went to visit the homeless encampment on 22nd and Union in Seattle. It is a cooperative agreement between the Good Shepard Church, Nickelsville (a community of homeless persons now living in the village), and the Low Income Housing Institute of Seattle. It is a remarkable venture to bring shelter and security to the villagers. There are about 14 tiny houses, with an entrance booth that is active all day and night. The house I visited was roughly 10′ x 12’ with 1 electrical outlet, 1 light, a wooden double bed frame, lots of shelves, and 2 windows. When I arrived, a friendly and gracious resident met my wife and me, explained how the village worked, and showed us the cooking area and combined shower/bathroom pavilion. The tour guide explained all the jobs that residents are expected to fulfill as members of the community, the democratic intricacies of the village, the code of conduct, and about the required weekly meeting. As the tour proceeded, we encountered different residents and the whole time we felt a strong sense of community.
Near the end of the tour our guide introduced us to a new village member. This resident had a very compelling life story. After moving around the country she and her family were committed to becoming successfully established in Seattle. She, too, was outgoing and incredibly motivated to go from this village to more permanent housing and already had plans on how to make her next move. Her story and my experience with the tour guide makes me interested in getting better acquainted with other efforts to address the homelessness crisis in Seattle.