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Seattle Tiny-Home Villages Facing Host of Challenges

The villages offer much-needed housing for homeless people, but controversy is brewing over their operations.
September 28, 2019, 11am PDT | Camille Fink
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Scott Greenstone reports on the latest issues related to the siting of tiny-home communities in Seattle providing housing to homeless people. The villages offer an alternative to shelters, which lack the same level of privacy and community.

"But a continuing issue for the city has been the fact that tiny house villages [under city code] cannot remain open in one spot for more than two years, and most of the city-sponsored villages are already months and months past their respective deadlines," says Greenstone.

Recently proposed legislation would ease these requirements and let the housing facilities stay in place longer. But the organization operating the villages is also considering faith-community sponsors in an arrangement that could let the villages stay open without restrictions.

Conflicts between homeless advocacy groups and a lack of consensus among village residents about using church sponsorship to circumvent city code are complicating the situation, notes Greenstone. "[Eliana Scott-Thoennes'] concerns are that faith sponsorship allow the city to get around listening to community and resident input, and the city wouldn’t be required to keep an advisory council of neighborhood stakeholders like the one she chairs."

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Published on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 in The Seattle Times
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