Homeless in one camp moving into tiny house village

SEATTLE — On busy Aurora Avenue, across from a used car lot and sandwiched between motels and fast food restaurants, is a fenced in gravel lot that will soon be home to a tiny house village for the homeless.

Seattle’s Low Income Housing Institute is responsible for the Licton Springs Tiny House Village.

“This is very, very exciting,” said LIHI executive director Sharon Lee. “This is a piece of land that my agency owns and we’re going to build some affordable housing. But in the meantime, we are setting up a tiny house village for homeless men and women. We are right now moving in 25 tiny houses that have been built by high school students in their vocational training program throughout the state. From Aberdeen to Walla Walla, Spokane.”

Lee says they’ll start moving people in on Wednesday and will eventually have 40 tiny homes to serve about 70 people. The project is expected to last about two years.

There won’t be any children living on the site and there will be rules and responsibilities.

“There’s going to be two full time staff people making sure that the place is operated well and that it’s secure and that it’s a safe place for people to live. We’re going to hire some social workers and case managers to help people move into housing and help them with employment and also access to services.”

The two staff people will come from Tent City 5, including Donald Toboll who has lived there since April.

“The opportunity was, by opening this camp, we’d get housing,” Toboll said. “We’re going to be living in regular housing offsite. And a job, onsite management. So we’ll be keeping the peace. We will also be doing neighborhood patrols, making sure that any criminal activity that goes on will be reported to the police. At the same time, we’ll be cleaning up the neighborhood of any debris that might be laying around.”

The houses are basic, most are just open 8×12 feet spaces, but they’re insulated and will be heated. There will be a community kitchen, Porta Potties, and a place to shower.

The idea is to give people a stable place to live so they can more easily get a job, or work on kicking their addictions, and then move them into permanent housing as soon as possible.

The opening ceremony for  the Licton Springs Tiny House Village is happening at 11 a.m.

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