Tiny House Village Gets Heat Thanks to Donations
Seattle, WA – Nickelsville Othello Village, a city-sanctioned tiny house village serving homeless families and individuals received a significant quality of life upgrade as heat and electricity have been installed in all the tiny houses. Heat, light and electrical outlets were made possible due to generous donations from individuals, foundations and organizations.
Currently 61 people live in Othello Village, including 50 adults and 11 children.
The program participants are ecstatic given the cold weather these past few weeks. “This is the first time I’ve had a door and heat in six years. Thanks so much. It is so life altering. We are so blessed,” said Mitze, who had tears in her eyes. “This is the end of a long hard winter. Thanks for your donations,” said Sean.
Othello Village is the third city-sanctioned encampment and was opened by LIHI and Nickelsville in March of 2016 as a crisis response to homelessness. Many people are not able to access traditional shelters, including couples, men with children, families with teenage sons, people with pets, and individuals who are working and need a place to keep their belongings safe. Over 3,000 men, women and children are on the streets unsheltered according to the January 2016 One Night Count.
LIHI executive director Sharon Lee said: “We had a bare bones budget when we opened Othello Village last year. At that time we did not have money to install electricity and heat in the tiny houses. We are most grateful to the many donors who made this possible. A little heat goes a long ways when your house is 8 feet by 12 feet, the size of a small bedroom.” A small family can fit in a tiny house and a large family can fit in two tiny houses side by side.
LIHI Boardmember Melinda Nichols said, “We’ve been learning a lot. Just insulating the houses was not enough. Heat is necessary both for the program participants and for keeping the tiny houses dry and free from moisture damage.” The International District Rotary is helping LIHI raise money for the portable hot oil electric heaters, which cost $61 each.
Located near Othello Light Rail Station at 7544 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S., the village contains 28 insulated tiny houses that are 8 feet by 12 feet and 12 tents on platforms. The village has a kitchen, a community tent, a shower trailer, a donation hut and a security booth. The village provides shelter for vulnerable families and individuals experiencing homelessness. The property is owned by LIHI and Nickelsville program participants participate in self-help and democratic decision-making in the day to day operations. The Seattle Human Services Department provides funding for operations and case management services to help people obtain housing and jobs.
In the nine months the village was in operation in 2016, LIHI moved 68 Othello Village program participants into housing and 13 into other shelter. 14 have been reunited with family and friends. 19 have found employment.
Most of the tiny houses were built by volunteers. The organizations and pre-apprenticeship programs that donated their resources and energy to build the tiny houses are: the Tulalip Tribes TERO Training Program, YouthBuild, Hazel Wolfe K-8 School, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Rebuilding Together, Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Employment for Women (ANEW), Renton Technical College, Paul G. Allen Foundation, Seattle Vocational Institute, Sawhorse Revolution, Valley Cities, Carpenters Apprenticeship, Portable Storage NW, and Walsh Construction. Hundreds of community volunteers also painted, tiled and furnished the tiny houses.
LIHI, in partnership with Nickelsville and SHARE, hopes to duplicate the success of Othello Village at our future tiny house villages, including two upcoming city-sanctioned sites opening in Georgetown and Licton Springs.
Volunteers, donors and supporters continue to play an integral role in developing an effective crisis response to ending homelessness. For information on volunteer opportunities, please visit Get Involved. To donate, please visit Donate.