Seattle's first tiny house village for homeless to open this week

by: Graham Johnson Updated:

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SEATTLE —

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, volunteers put the finishing touches on small houses with the kind of basic amenities you don't see in Seattle homeless camps.

"The difference is you have electricity and a lock on the door," said Steve Tucker, a member of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, which is hosting what organizers are calling Seattle's first tiny house village.

The 14 homes are insulated.

They'll have oil heat registers for winter and fans for summer.

Some even have extra touches like storage and sleeping platforms.

Most important, there's a central building with flush toilets, hot and cold water, and soon, a shower.

"You have two toilets, which is a big difference from Nickelsville. They have port-a-potties," Tucker said, referring to the organized homeless camp.

The tiny house village is going up on church property.

There used to be a single family home on the lot, and the village taps in to the old utility services.

"We think it's a good crisis response to homelessness," said Sharon Lee of the Low Income Housing Institute.

Lee expects most people to stay in the village between four to six months as they transition from Nickelsville to affordable housing.

Each adult will pay $90 per month to cover the utilities.

"I think this is a unique model and we want to continue this model," Lee said.

Donors funded the homes, which cost about $2,200 each.

Volunteers from several groups built the village.

 People are expected to move in later in the week.