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Homeless Find Stability, Safety In Tiny Houses In Seattle

Just off busy Aurora Avenue in Seattle, there’s a new cluster of tiny houses. The first residents began moving into the non-profit run Licton Springs Tiny Houses Village on Wednesday. All of the occupants used to be homeless. The site is being run by the group SHARE, which is well known for its tent cities.

Charlie Johnson, with SHARE,  says the brightly colored houses are an alternative to living in a tent or under a bridge.

“It’s definitely seen as transitional housing. The goal being first to stabilize [residents] so that they can kind of pull themselves together a little, getting used to living in a slightly more civilized environment and build some trust and some community,” Johnson said.

He says caseworkers will be available to residents to help them find jobs and more permanent housing. The tiny one room houses, which are 8 by 12 feet, are  part of a coordinated citywide effort to address the growing homeless problem.

The small houses, which don’t have plumbing or electricity, are on land owned by the Low Income Housing Institute, which plans to develop the property eventually. There are portable toilets and a wash station for tiny house residents to use. There's also a covered area where food can be prepared.

The one room structures were built by high school students in vocational education classes around the state.

John Roller, who moved into one of the houses on Wednesday, said it's far better than living in a tent, which he did for 11 years in Woodland Park. He said being in the tiny house gives him peace of mind.

"I now have four walls and a door that locks," Roller said with a smile.   

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.