The E Union Tiny House Village celebrated with a housewarming Saturday as the 15-unit Nickelsville and Low Income Housing Institute project on a Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd-owned lot welcomed neighbors and the people who built the little homes for a donation drive and tour with residents.
“I’m glad Seattle is actually doing something to help the homeless,” said Tyler Buell, a student from a Renton Technical College program that helped construct the residences. “Sometimes you just need a place to keep your stuff, get warm. So that’s one thing you don’t have to worry about.”
Several organizations including Seattle Central Wood Technology students built the 15 two-person houses with their own funding. Each house cost roughly $2,200 in materials, are wired for electricity. One requirement was that the houses be moveable in case of a need to move the community or redeploy one of the units elsewhere. A bathroom pavilion, a kitchen tent, and showers were also part of the village plans.
Residents for the new homes were chosen from within the Nickelsville community with priority given to veterans and longtime members. Governance will be handled within the community itself.
In 2015, more than 45 people died on the street in Seattle and Mayor Ed Murray declared a homelessness state of emergency. Organizers hope that the Union Tiny House Village is the first of many in Seattle.
For students like Buell, the project was also an opportunity to increase his house-building skills including roofing and framing. He’s hopeful that more villages like this one will be built.
“A lot of success stories come from people who were down at the bottom and rose up,” Buell said.