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Central District Tiny House Village at 22nd and Union has one month to find new home

Four years after it debuted in the winter of 2016 and became one of the models for proponents of so-called bridge housing in Seattle, the 22nd and Union Tiny House Village has been given one month to find a new home.

In a letter sent two days after Christmas, the board of trustees at the Central District’s Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd notified village organizers that it is time to move on, saying the congregation plans to “continue our outreach to the homeless in our community” but will be “exploring new and possibly better ways to utilize our property.”

“We have had a four-year relationship at our Good Shepherd village that has worked well for us and has helped us fulfill our mission to reach out to the community and care for those in need,” the board writes. “We hope that it has been useful to the residents by providing a comfortable shelter while they strive to work their way back to more permanent housing.”

The village has until January 31st to vacate the premises and has already posted a notice letting neighbors know of its search for a new home. In its response to the church, the group has asked for more time:

 

We have reached out to the church and the board for more information on the decision. Nickelsville, the organization contracted to run the village, provided a copy of the church’s letter and responses to CHS.

The church’s decision comes after months of acrimony between the Low Income Housing Institute nonprofit that operates the city’s Tiny House Villages and the group it has contracted to run them. A December compromise over the Nickelsville Northlake location bought that village a few more months but may have only delayed continued disagreements between the city, LIHI, and Nickelsville over how the villages should be run.

It also comes as District 3 representative Kshama Sawant has made a major push for expansion of the program with a $12 million plan to expand the villages at 20 locations across the city. Sawant’s office has not yet responded to our inquiry about the situation at 22nd and Union. Sawant is also championing a ban on winter evictions in Seattle.

The four years at the Good Shepherd village at 22nd and Union have been mostly calm. CHS visited the 14 tiny homes when the village debuted in January of 2016 and returned later to find the community continuing to be a positive part of the neighborhood.

Several organizations including Seattle Central Wood Technology students built the two-person houses with their own funding.

Each house cost roughly $2,200 in materials and is wired for electricity. A bathroom pavilion, a kitchen tent, and showers were also part of the village plans. The community is self managed and residents hold meetings to work on the management of the camp. Alcohol and drugs are prohibited. Nickelsville camps accept single people, couples, families, and pets. Sex offenders are not accepted and a government issued photo ID is required. The village also helps tenants save money and eventually move into standard housing as residents only pay a small amount for utilities and rent can be paid by working security shifts and participation credits.

Volunteers told CHS at the time the model was working despite hiccups like an issue with hot water not making it to the kitchen tent. One additional requirement will also be helpful given the notice to move. The tiny houses are designed to be portable in case of a need to move the community or redeploy one of the units elsewhere.


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20 thoughts on “Central District Tiny House Village at 22nd and Union has one month to find new home

      • As a neighbor, I’ve been in support of the village since the beginning. I stop by on my dog walks, say hello, bring little things by like hand warmers or good quality used warm clothing items. These people are a part of our neighborhood and community now, and this decision shows enormous cruelty and disrespect.

        I totally understand the church wanting to use their property for something else, I’m a big fan of property rights. What I take issue with is the timeline.

        In Seattle, landlords are required to give 90 days notice, which is just one more way the homeless lack the protections those of us fortunate enough to be housed often take for granted.

        I truly hope the congregation chooses to speak and act in line with their beliefs and urges the church to give the camp more time.

      • I haven’t met any residents in our neighborhood that oppose the tiny house village on 22nd. Have you? Please let me know (via the CHS blog reply option) who among those living on 22nd between Union and Pine are in opposition. I’m pretty sure that the majority of residents around here are not opposed.

      • This comment is in reply only to the comment from “neighbor” that says “In Seattle, landlords are required to give 90 days notice”, that is very unfortunately not true.
        Sadly, landlords in the city of Seattle and WA State need only give 20 days notice to terminate a tenancy (not the same as eviction, btw).
        Here’s the Seattle Tenants Union link for those details, it also contains links to WA State tenancy laws:
        https://tenantsunion.org/rights/termination-of-tenancy

        20 days notice to vacate is not sufficient for any one, never mind in the current Seattle rental market.

        30 days is woefully inadequate in this situation. The Tiny Village needs at least 6 months to find a new site, get it ready, and move all the tiny houses, etc.
        Shame on the church for casting them out without enough time to safely relocate. I agree with the commenters reading between the lines in the letter that the lot is likely to be sold.

    • “fight back” by forcing a church who voluntarily hosted a homeless community on their own (private) land to continue to host them, against their will?
      What if your neighbors “fight back” and force you to host a tiny house or 2 on YOUR lawn? How’s that sound–good?

      • Ok boomer. Great thought. I think the big one is we gotta get these damn churches outta here! That church was only useful when it actually provided the land for this village. Now it’s just another tax haven for the Christian machine…again, useless.

      • OK, boomer (see how it sounds just as stupid when I say it, as when you say it?). Nice how you deflect from the point I made— how ridiculous it sounds to say everyone should “fight back” to force the church to keep hosting the village. Like that’s even possible. Maybe Comrade Sawant can find a way. For the record, I’ve got no use for churches either. And I think they should have the crap taxed out of them too. But until someone explains how they’ll “fight back” or get rid of all the churches in the CD (and then what?), this is all just more of the same Seattle unfocused rage that never amounts to a hill of beans.

    • She did. And so did Frank Chopp. And Sally Bagshaw told us they were promising this while she was on the city council. Nothing much has happened. Two are gonna e now. And one is ‘sweeping’ her problems away.

  1. I assume the “new use” is just a euphemism for “sell the land to a developer”?

    I’m pretty sure I am correct there…just as I am sure the whole PR bs of “continuing our outreach to the community” is the usual, well, PR bs.

    Nice that this church pays no taxes…sigh….

    That said, at least it’s a mainline denomination…is there any word on the scammy “church” next to Uncle Ike’s selling it’s properties (as I believe it owns parcels on both sides of 23rd)?

    I mean…I assume that particular sale will serve to line the pockets of the good Reverend Doctor Pastor Reginald T. Moneygrubber III….or whatever the scammy scammer who runs that particular “church” calls himself.

    Oh well, I am sure the good and godly Lutherans of 22nd and Union will soon have a fresh infusion of cash for property sold and, shortly thereafter, a new McModern townhome behind their church.

    Everybody wins!

    And I’m sure the sale of the properties along 23rd will benefit the neighboring congregation as well…or, rather, will provide the good Doctor Reverend Paster Moneygrubber with an excuse to upgrade to a newer, more appropriate Mercedes for someone of his station…and maybe build a new rectory of the “gaudy McMansion” variety for himself?

    Why oh why are churches not taxed into nonexistence????

  2. what is even the point of churches if they’re not here to help the needy? looking forward to the new paid parking lot i’m sure they’re building instead.

  3. Mt Zion a few blocks away is awash in open space – there is a gravel parking lot across 20th that is virtually empty at all times. The rest of their parking lots are pretty open most days. Their old pastors house on 20th has been vacant for over 20 years – perhaps their congregation has it in their hearts to house the tiny house village, they certainly have room.

  4. Why doesn’t the world’s richest man buy a plot of land for these tiny houses? It wouldn’t even cost him 15 minutes worth of his earned income. Truth is, he could house every homeless person in this city and it still wouldn’t make a dent in his wealth.

    • Because he’s a “Libertarian”. And the modern definition of “Libertarian” means to drain as much wealth from the world as he can while leaving the world a worse off place, because: who cares, he got his!

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