Month: June 2016

The Marion West Opens

Marion West Grand Opening!

On June 21st, a large crowd of housing supporters gathered to celebrate the grand opening of The Marion West, LIHI’s new project in the University District featuring 20 affordable apartments for homeless young adults (age 18 to 24) and 29 apartments for low-wage workers who are entering the workforce. The project is named for racial justice champion Marion West, who along with her husband, helped break the color barrier in the U-District by housing African Americans and students of color in the 1950s.

Marion West

Speakers included Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who thanked the building’s namesake Marion West for courage as a housing justice pioneer in the 1950s, and emphasized that, “It is in partnership with the homeless that we solve homelessness.”

Marion West followed the Mayor and thanked LIHI for remembering her and bestowing this honor upon her. She said, “I speculate that the people who will live here will have a few cracks in their lives. By giving them this ground to stand on they will have an opportunity to fill in those cracks and help create a more equitable society.”

Marion’s daughter Kathleen spoke of a wonderful childhood growing up in their multicultural boardinghouse household in the U District, with a multitude of melodious language, swirling colors, and delicious smells, in a time when such households essentially didn’t exist and, in fact, people sometimes surrounded their home demonstrating against its existence.

City Councilmember Debora Juarez praised the West family saying, “This building, through brick and mortar, embodies the generosity and love you offered 60 years ago.”

Melinda Giovengo, executive director of YouthCare, which will be providing social services to the youths living at The Marion West, stressed the importance of having affordable housing for youths in the U District, a place youths want to live: “This home will give them a safe place to help them work on art, on their careers, on maintaining sobriety in a youth-centric neighborhood where they can thrive.”

Sally Clark, representing the University of Washington and the U District Partnership emphasized how wonderful it was that three synergistic organizations–LIHI, The U District Foodbank, and YouthCare–could partner to create such a necessary project: We need more of this. Let’s do it again.”

Joe Gruber, executive director of the U District Foodbank, thankful for the expanded space and capacity to serve more people better. said, “Our new home is about providing a strong foundation for our foodbank families.”

News Coverage:

KIRO 7: From tiny house village to apartment, homeless mother, toddler get new beginning
Q13: Marion West Apartment project in Seattle to help homeless young people

Seattle Tent Cities Show Positive Outcomes


City Authorized Encampments Moving Residents into Housing and Jobs

Seattle – The three City of Seattle-authorized homeless encampments that were established as a result of the City’s March 30, 2015 ordinance, which permitted three encampments on City or private land, have successfully moved 57 residents of the encampments into transitional and permanent housing and assisted 40 residents in obtaining jobs. The nonprofit Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) operates the encampments in partnership with Nickelsville and SHARE. LIHI employs two case managers, funded through the Seattle Human Services Department, to help families and individuals living in tiny houses and tents to access housing and an array of services and employment. “We have good news to report: in the month of June our case managers helped 13 people move into housing, seven into shelters and nine people got jobs. This frees up space for 20 other homeless people living in dangerous conditions on the street. The three city-supported encampments enable people to live in a safe place linked with services,” said Sharon Lee, LIHI Executive Director. No alcohol, drugs or weapons are allowed at the encampments.

The three encampments feature a mix of tiny houses (8’ x 12’) and tents on platforms. Most of the tiny houses have been built by volunteer labor, many through vocational training programs. Each tiny house costs about $2,200 for wood, insulation and building materials. Tiny houses recently added to Othello Village were built by the Tulalip Tribes TERO program, Sawhorse Revolution, Seattle Vocational Institute, Renton Technical College, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Apprenticeship Training program.

From October 1, 2015 to June 28, 2016:

57 encampment residents moved to permanent or transitional housing (majority into LIHI housing)
30 encampment residents moved into other shelter
40 encampment residents found employment
3 encampment residents were reunited with relatives (LIHI provided transportation)

Locations and populations of encampments:

Nickelsville Ballard Encampment at 2826 NW Market Street: 21 residents
SHARE Interbay Encampment at 3234 17th Avenue W: 63 residents
Nickelsville Othello Village* at 7544 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S: 47 residents
* Othello Village opened March 8, 2016.

The Low Income Housing Institute owns and/or manages over 1,800 affordable apartments in the Puget Sound region. For more information about LIHI, please visit