Dear Friend of LIHI,
Happy end of Summer! It’s been a challenging year so far, and while times remain difficult, we hope to share some upbeat news with you.
Tiny houses, which naturally provide separated living spaces for residents, have been recognized as ideal shelter for pandemic conditions. LIHI operates 12 tiny house villages. We are blessed that no one living in a tiny house has tested positive for Covid-19. Unfortunately 440 people living in emergency shelters (50 locations), homeless housing (37 locations), and camping outdoors have tested positive in King County.
Since our tiny house program started in 2015 with our first village, we have sheltered and helped 2,801 homeless people, including families with children. Last year, working with our dedicated case managers, 52% of our residents who exited moved into long term housing: 36% moved into permanent housing and 16% into transitional housing (many with Section 8 subsidies). In contrast, only 4% of people who exited emergency shelters and 23% who exited enhanced shelters obtained permanent housing.
Thanks to our expertise in setting up and running tiny house villages, when Mayor Durkan asked us in March to add 100 beds in response to Covid-19, we were able to do so in five weeks! We quickly added 45 tiny houses in two villages and rehabbed a building, Lakefront Community House, as a new 24/7 enhanced shelter for 55 people. The new T.C. Spirit Village in the Central Area is focused on sheltering Native Americans, African Americans and Alaskan Natives that are underserved yet over-represented in the homeless population.
There remains a great need for more tiny houses and villages – the need was there before the pandemic. Over 5,570 homeless people live unsheltered in Seattle and King County. Villages provide stability and dignity: the humanizing value of a lockable door and a place to keep belongings cannot be overstated. In traditional shelters, strangers are often sleeping inches from each other. The villages also provide a sense of community. Case managers help residents find housing and employment and connect them to vital services.
We hope to open three new villages before December so more people can be warm and safe this winter. I am asking for your support to grow our Tiny House Village program. Your donations directly improve lives and reduce homelessness.
I am also writing to ask for your support of our Urban Rest Stops, which have helped people keep clean and safe during the pandemic. Like tiny houses, this program was already well-suited operationally for pandemic protocols. We have provided thousands of showers, laundry loads, bathroom uses, hygiene services, and housing referrals for free for homeless people at three locations in downtown Seattle, Ballard and the University District.
or mail check made out to "LIHI" to:
Attn: Fund Development
1253 S. Jackson St. Suite A
Seattle, WA 98144