Month: June 2021

Progressive Skyway Village Opening!

Cherryl Jackson Williams, Chandler Gayton, Hannah Ferguson, La Tonya Horace and other members of the Skyway Coalition. “We are so happy to say welcome home to our community members that are coming here. We are so happy to say this is just the first stop of your journey, and we will ride that ride with you. We are not going anywhere, because again, this is for us, by us, and we stand by our community.

Construction of Progressive Skyway Village, located at 12431 56th Pl S, Seattle is nearly complete and an opening celebration ceremony was held on June 8th. The village, sponsored by the Seattle Word of God Church and sited on church property, has 33 tiny houses for families, couples and singles. The village features plumbed bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, community meeting space, case manager’s and staff offices, entrance pavilion, secured gate and surrounding fence. The village has separate groupings of tiny houses for families, family bathrooms and a children’s rec room.

Seattle Word of God Minister Kathy Taylor, speaking at the opening, said, “We’ve had this land for 2 years now, and we just wanted to be able to be of service to the community. Until we get to the point where we are building our church, we felt it necessary to be able to do something that would serve the community where we sit. And that’s what it’s all about. We are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper.”

Rev. Curtis Taylor added, “The Bible tells us that how can you love God who you have not seen, and don’t love your brother who you see everyday. Part of that love is action. Since we’ve been blessed with this property, we found ourselves wanting to be a blessing and help somebody along the way. This is just the first phase of what our ultimate goal is, and that is to have low-income housing on the opposite side of this lot along with our Church.”

Fellow faith leaders were on hand to celebrate the opening, including Rev. Jeffrey of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Lawrence Willis of Truvine Church, and Rev. Jesse Townsel of Garden of Gethsemane Church of God In Christ.

King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay said, “This just shows you the power of our community, the power of the Skyway community. If you give the people of Skyway the tools and resources they need, and the opportunity to succeed, they will achieve amazing things, and there has never been a better example than this today.”

Former True Hope Village resident Tracy Willams said, “When I walked in there, I had no self esteem, I had no hope. The tiny houses gave me hope and helped me get back on my feet and made me start loving myself all over again. The program does work.”

Mark Ellerbrook, Division Director for King County’s Community and Human Services Department, said, “I’m excited that we have our first tiny home village outside of the City of Seattle, in unincorporated King County, recognizing this is a solution we should be embracing, and I want to see more of this and have our Department and Division do more of this work.”

Sharon Lee said, “We are very happy to open Progressive Skyway Village as LIHI’s first tiny house village located in King County outside of Seattle. Given the large number of homeless people in King County, there is a great need for tiny house villages in north, east and south parts of the county. Thank you to the Seattle Word of God Church for offering their land to shelter people experiencing homelessness in the Skyway community. The Church has stated their interest in developing their land in the future for affordable housing.”

Great thanks to the commitment and generosity of Pastor Curtis Taylor and his wife Minister Kathy Taylor, the Word of God Church congregation, the Skyway Coalition, and King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay. King County provided capital and operating funding.

Heartfelt thanks also to all who donated and volunteered, with special thanks going to Sound Foundations NW, Trinity Construction Builders, JT’s Contracting, Walsh Construction, PACT Program, and other families, organizations, and volunteers who built homes, Dignity for Divas for organizing and donating welcome baskets for the new residents, the International District and Mercer Island Rotary Clubs for donating bedding and hygiene supplies, and the over 50 neighbors and volunteers who helped set up the village over several work parties.

Progressive Skyway Village will be accepting referrals from Skyway-based social service organizations that serve people experiencing and at-risk of homelessness in the Skyway community. The first residents will move in tomorrow, Friday, June 11.

Clockwise from top left: LIHI Staff; the daughters of Rev. and Min. Taylor sang a song of celebration; interior of house with furnishings and welcome basket of essentials; handicapped accessible houses; King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay (left) with Legislative Aide Chandler Gayton; enclosed village with secure entrance and 24/7 staffing; Mark Ellerbrook, King County Community and Human Services Department; mother and daughter Tracy and Audre’ona, who moved from True Hope and T.C. Spirit Villages into LIHI’s Jensen Block and Clay Apts; LIHI’s Theresa Hohman, Min. Kathy Taylor, Rev. Curtis Taylor, Senator Rebecca Saldaña (37th), and Ricky Winbush.

Port of Seattle to Expand Interbay Village

The Port held a press event on June 2 at Interbay Safe Harbor Tiny House Village to announce the expansion of the village by working with LIHI to add 30 new tiny houses to the existing 46 houses. This would make Interbay the largest tiny house village in the state with 76 tiny houses. The location is 1601 15th Ave. West. 

Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman stated that the Port of Seattle is the only port in the country to host a tiny house village. The Port is expected to sign a new two year lease with the City of Seattle and will welcome the new neighbors. LIHI will add additional hygiene facilities, a new kitchen and increase staffing including case managers. Seattle Councilmember Andrew Lewis spoke about the desire to serve more homeless people in District 7 and throughout the city with his “It Takes a Village” campaign to create 20 tiny house villages in Seattle. 

Sharon Lee, LIHI Executive Director, thanked Commissioner Bowman and Councilmember Lewis for their leadership. 50 people currently live in the village including three children. Because of Mayor Dukan’s leadership in helping LIHI purchase the 76-unit Clay Apartments on Capitol Hill, six people from Interbay moved in recently. 
Ms. Lee introduced Bob Williamson who lived at Interbay Village since it opened and has now moved into permanent housing. Mr Williamson said he formerly lived in a tent at the Dravus tent city site before moving to Interbay Village. He is now very happy to be living in his own studio apartment at the Clay Apartments (see photo). He said the village saved his life. 

Magnolia, Queen Anne and Interbay community leaders, Janis Traven, Sue Olson, Jan Monti and Ellen Monrad and spoke about their support for the villagers and the expansion. 

Video of press event

Left to right: Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman; City Councilmember Andrew Lewis; Bob Williamson; Interbay Village