Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Seattle's Tiny House Homeless Communities Not Effective

Despite spending in Seattle, Oregon and King County that has ballooned to $200 million a year, the number of people living in tents, on Seattle streets and in vehicles has grown 20 percent since 2016, to nearly 4,000 individuals.

A Seattle Tiny House Village (just completed)

So far, Seattle has seven permitted tiny house villages, though officials reportedly expect that number to increase by the end of the year.

"Each night, the villages provide more than 300 people a tiny house structure that locks, access to restrooms and showers, case management, a kitchen and a managed community," the city explains on its website.

Seattle works with nonprofit Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) to oversee the homeless encampments. The city doesn't fund the construction of the tiny homes — which are mainly built by volunteers — but it does pay LIHI staff to operate them.

Next year, the city will pay the organization $1.7 million to "operate and provide case management" to those living in the villages, according to the Seattle Times.

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness has slammed cities who are taking the tiny home approach, arguing it doesn't actually solve the problem and ends up being costly and hard to manage.

A real Chicken Coop ready for occupancy

"Creating and then operating such settings typically requires significant funding, energy, and staff time from both public and private agencies devoted to locating and arranging for the use of sites, educating and engaging neighbors, addressing any permitting requirements, providing a secure and hygienic environment, setting up and maintaining any structures, providing adequate services and supports, and many other planning and operational details," the USICH warned in a May 2018 memo.

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