SEATTLE – The city is going into the new year under an emergency situation when it comes to homelessness. As Seattle's elected leaders work to put more funding toward helping those on the streets and in shelters, a new village is taking shape in the Central District that is a first-of-its-kind in Seattle.
"My current structure over at Dearborn doesn't have an insulation. When it's 30 degrees outside, it's 30 degrees inside," said Selene McCann. "It's very cold. We have to sleep with six blankets and it's still freezing."
McCann will soon be one of the residents of the tiny home village going up here at 22nd and East Union, property that The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd owns and has used to host the Nickelsville homeless encampment before.
This site will function differently than others have in the past. The wooden structures about the size of a bedroom are insulated and will have electricity. Those who are homeless and living here will pay $90 a month as a utility fee.
"So it will definitely be serving people who have a source of income who can use that as an investment into the future," McCann said.
On Wednesday, Sarah Smith from the non-profit Sawhorse Revolution was putting some of the finishing touches on one of the tiny houses in the new village. The group help build three structures there.
"Just knowing you've got to make the nights a little warmer," said Smith, program director for Sawhorse Revolution.
Sawhorse Revolution worked with students and Franklin High School to build the home that McCann and her wife plan on moving into.
The site should be open by January 4, McCann said, pending any delays. The Low Income Housing Institute will provide human services as part of a plan to help people get back on their feet.
"We are part of the tiny house movement nationally," Sharon Lee, executive director of LIHI. "This is a new model of transitional housing for homeless people."