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Vancouver's first 'Safe Stay Community' slated to open before Christmas

The community has 20 tiny homes, which will be used to house up to 40 people.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Vancouver's first "Stay Safe Community," a village of tiny homes for people who are homeless, is set to open before Christmas. 

One of the community's first residents, 38-year-old Michael Iverson, feels giddy knowing he will have a roof over his head in a matter of days. 

"This is a big deal," Iverson said. "It's great. We're so excited."

Iverson and his girlfriend will be two of the first people to move into the Safe Stay Community. The 20 tiny homes near Northeast 112th Avenue and SR 500 will provide a safe place to sleep for up to 40 people who are homeless.

"It's nice," Iverson said. "Power, heat, and everything. It's been nice cause it's been cold and stuff."

"Beyond thrilled," added Jamie Spinelli, the Homeless Response Coordinator for the city of Vancouver. She managed to get the new community up and running in less than a year.

Credit: Mike Benner, KGW staff
Michael Iverson plans to live at Vancouver's 'Safe Stay Community.'

"It's hugely important," she said. "It's life and death for some people."

People who live in the community will live in a tiny home with two beds, a heater and electricity, among other things. They will also get access to outreach workers and community based service providers.

Credit: Mike Benner, KGW staff
Each tiny home has two beds.

"The goal is to move people in, get them stabilized and then on to permanent housing and employment as quickly as possible," Spinelli said. "But we don't want to also rush people out before they're ready to do so."

That is much appreciated by Iverson, who recently secured a job — and now a place to call home.

"To to be coming back up after being down so low," he said. "It's awesome."

The Safe Stay Community is scheduled to officially open Thursday. Vancouver hopes to open additional sites by summer 2022.