Category: News

Thank You for Giving Big!

Henry McGee, Jr. with his GiveBig donation. Henry is a LIHI Board-
member and is Professor Emeritus at Seattle University School of Law.

Dear LIHI Champions,

You are amazing! Between donations made directly to LIHI and through the GiveBig website, plus fully leveraging the $30,000 matching gift from the Wyncote Foundation NW, you raised nearly $100,000 for Tiny Houses and Urban Rest Stops!

We are so grateful to you for helping provide our homeless neighbors the shelter and services they need.

Forgot to give? It’s not too late!

You can still GiveBIG:
Donate online direct to LIHI.
Mail a check to: LIHI Fund Dev. 1253 S. Jackson St. Seattle, WA 98144 (checks = no credit card fees taken out of donation)
Donate through GiveBIG site through midnight on May 10th.

Thank You!

GiveBig! Support LIHI’s 30th Anniversary!

Tiny House Purple

Help us raise $30,000 for our 30 years! Actually, let’s raise $30,000 twice: the Wyncote Foundation NW has generously agreed to match up to $30,000 in donations in honor of our anniversary! LIHI GiveBig fundraising supports Tiny House Villages and Urban Rest Stops.

Ways to GiveBIG:

  1. Donate today direct to LIHI online
  2. Mail a check to:
    LIHI: Attn: Fund Dev
    1253 S Jackson Street, Suite A
    Seattle, WA 98144
  3. Donate through GiveBIG. Early giving open now.
  4. Start a Facebook fundraiser with you and your friends and family.

DreamBig! — 600 Tiny Houses

Tiny Houses serve populations that are not served well by traditional shelter options, including families, couples, and people with pets. Tiny houses are preferred and accepted as shelter by many people who refuse space in other shelters. Why? Because in a tiny house village you get a house to yourself with a lockable door. You get privacy and your possessions are safe. A high percentage are able to obtain longterm housing from a tiny house.

There are over 3,000 unsheltered homeless in Seattle and nearly 6,000 in King County. We need 600 more tiny houses now to help reduce unsheltered homelessness.

DreamBig! — More Urban Rest Stops

Urban Rest Stops give homeless people a chance to refresh. You may take for granted being able to take a shower, do your laundry, and go to the bathroom. Many homeless people don’t have this option and resort to trying to get clean in public restrooms, which can be awkward and uncomfortable.

LIHI’s Urban Rest Stops help many of our region’s homeless get the personal hygiene services that they need in a dignified setting, but the demand for these services far exceeds the capacity. An Urban Rest Stop in every neighborhood is our Big Dream.

Join the team! GiveBig and DreamBig!

The Clay Apartments

602 E Howell St, Seattle, WA

LIHI is acquiring the Clay Apartments, a 7 story, 76 unit building in the heart of Capitol Hill, to serve homeless individuals and veterans.

The acquisition of the Clay Apartments is an unprecedented opportunity to capitalize on the current market conditions to quickly and cost effectively provide housing for the most vulnerable populations. 

The site provides residents with access to a plethora of amenities, employment opportunities, and services. The site is just minutes from Downtown and within a hundred of feet of multiple high capacity bus lines. 

The building contains 76 units, including 70 SEDUS and 6 lofts. Each unit includes a spacious kitchenette area with ample counter and storage space, convection ovens, large refrigerators, dishwashers, and individual washer and dryers. 

The building also hosts several large indoor and outdoor amenity areas including a lounge on the third floor, a spacious roof deck, and a courtyard to the side of the building. The seller has also agreed to build out the commercial space into community space that will host additional case management offices, a computer lab, a community kitchen, and a communal sitting area. 

Martin Way Housing & Shelter Breaks Ground

Olympia, WA – The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) in partnership with Interfaith Works have started construction on Martin Way Housing & Shelter, located at 161 Pattison St. NE, Olympia.  This 5-story, new construction affordable rental building includes 65 permanent supportive housing units for homeless people operated by Low Income Housing Institute and a 60-bed 24/7 enhanced shelter on the ground floor operated by Interfaith Works (IW). Construction broke ground on November 23, 2020 and will be completed December 2021.  LIHI is the owner/developer, the architect is Encore Architects and the contractor is Walsh Construction Co.

The apartment building will include 53 studio and 12 one-bedroom units, including one unit for an on-site manager. The affordability is targeted to households at or below 30% and 50% ($30,350 annual income and below for an individual) of the area median income.  Units are set-aside for homeless seniors, veterans and people living with disabilities.  The Interfaith Works shelter will serve 60 homeless individuals including singles and couples.

“Thank you to Olympia Mayor Cheryl Shelby and the City Council for selling city-owned property at a deep discount to LIHI so that we can start construction on critically needed low-Income housing and shelter for homeless individuals and couples. The 2020 Point in Time Count documents 995 individuals experiencing homelessness in Thurston County, which is a 24% increase over 2019.  People should not have to live in cars, tents or be left to survive on the street.  With winter and the pandemic here, it is truly heartbreaking to see so many people living unsheltered.  With completion of construction next winter, over 140 vulnerable people will have a warm, safe place to live and thrive,” said Sharon Lee, LIHI Executive Director.

Mayor Cheryl Selby said, “We are excited to bring forward the first project built with Home Fund Levy dollars that will add 24-hour shelter capacity for our most vulnerable neighbors and add 64 new units of housing for homeless adults.  Along with Home Fund dollars, this project would not be able to happen without funding partnerships including Thurston County, the state Housing Trust Fund, and the state Housing Finance Commission through federal tax credits.  These partnerships are helping the City of Olympia take a huge step in providing shelter to those in our community who need it most.”

Meg Martin, Executive Director of Interfaith Works, said, “Our relationships with the faith and spiritual communities who have shouldered the work of addressing homelessness in our County for three decades remain strong and active — especially with our beloved home at First Christian Church. However, our stay at First Christian Church was never meant to be permanent. We are ecstatic to partner with LIHI to design a safe, clean, beautiful, and accessible facility that will fully realize the dignity and respect our current and future shelter guests deserve. This development represents a pivotal moment in the progression of the Thurston County Homeless Response Plan and we are incredibly grateful to the community for making it possible.”

LIHI will be the owner/operator of the building and lease the ground floor to IW to operate the enhanced shelter.  Both agencies will work closely together through the construction, lease up, and ongoing operations of the facility. IW will be providing case management and support services.

Total development cost is $20.7 million. Funding sources for the housing includes the City of Olympia Home Fund, Thurston County, State Housing Trust Fund, Washington State Housing Trust Fund, Raymond James (tax credit investor), and JPMorgan Chase (construction financing).  Funding for the IW shelter includes State Department of Commerce and City of Olympia Home Fund.

Interfaith Works, founded in Thurston County in 1974, has been providing shelter in church and spiritual community basements, social halls, and sanctuaries for nearly 30 years. IW is a key provider in the Thurston County Homeless Response System. For decades, IW has advocated for meeting both the immediate emergency needs for survival for those living unsheltered, as well as creating more permanent supportive housing for people living with complex challenges related to their physical and mental health.  Those who have historically been screened out of the homeless response system tend to have higher interactions with emergency services and it costs significantly more to leave them out than it does to create permanent housing and support services tailored to their unique needs. The partnership between LIHI and IW aims to do just this — take a both/and approach to addressing the continued state of emergency of homelessness and affordable housing in Thurston County. IW helped to organize the passing of the City of Olympia’s Home Fund sales tax initiative in 2018.  For more info:

The nonprofit Low Income Housing Institute was founded in 1991 and has over 65 properties under ownership and management.  In addition, LIHI operates 12 tiny house villages in Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle as a crisis response to homelessness.  For more info:

Project Info:

Architect – Encore Architects, PLLC
General Contractor – Walsh Construction Co./Washington


Electric – Kirby Electric
HVAC – Emerald Aire
Plumbing – Herdman Plumbing
Civil Engineer – Hatton Godat Pantier
Structural Engineer – YT Engineers
Geotechnical Engineer – Geotechnical Consultants
Landscape Architect – Weisman Design Group
Waterproofing Consultant – JRS
Acoustic Consultant – A3 Acoustics, LLP
Accessibility – Studio Pacifica
Fire Protection – Patriot Fire Protection
Survey – Hatton Godat Pantier, Inc.

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An Lạc Apts. Win NAIOPWA Award: Affordable Housing Development of the Year!

Located in Seattle’s International District, An Lạc is a mixed-use property comprising 69 units of affordable housing above LIHI’s new main offices at a site well-served by transit. Runberg Architecture Group was the architect and Walsh Construction Co. was the contractor.

“We are thrilled to be honored by NAIOP and proud to have the An Lạc apartments serve as a gateway to Little Saigon and the Chinatown-International District,” said Sharon Lee, Executive Director of LIHI. “An Lạc will help counter gentrification and help the neighborhood retain its wonderful character and diversity.”Chosen to reinforce a unique sense of place, the project’s design was inspired by the “tube houses” found in cities across Vietnam – narrow residential buildings distinctive for their variety of window styles and balconies. Sustainable features include a 32-kW rooftop solar array and bioretention planters.

NAIOPWA’s Night of the Stars identifies outstanding real estate developments and activities in a variety of market types and the individuals who made the projects happen. The awards aim to honor the teams who build our landscape in this annual celebration of the industry. Each finalist project was evaluated for impact on the community, market adaptability, ingenuity and local contributions. 

Thank You for Giving BIG!


Wow! You helped us raise $83,893! Your donation fully leveraged the $40,000 in match funds from Wyncote Foundation NW. We couldn’t have done this without your support!  

Thank you for funding more tiny houses that are critically needed during the pandemic to keep people safe. Thank you for vital restroom, laundry and hygiene services provided by the Urban Rest Stops!   

It’s not too late to donate. Give online here.  

We are so grateful for your contributions during the Covid-19 crisis. You make a difference!

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Mayor Announces Opening of New 24/7 Shelter

The following was issued by the City of Seattle, Human Services Department, Director of External Affairs on April 21, 2020

Announcing Opening of 24/7 Enhanced Shelter in Bitterlake – Lakefront Community House

The City of Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) and the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) today announced the opening of a new, 24/7 enhanced shelter in the Bitterlake neighborhood. The shelter has been named the Lakefront Community House. This new shelter was announced in March by Mayor Jenny Durkan and opened within weeks following the announcement, highlighting the urgency with which the City and its partner, LIHI, is working to add new shelter capacity during the COVID-19 crisis. The City’s Navigation Team will coordinate referrals to Lakefront Community House and will work with LIHI to identify and connect vulnerable people experiencing homelessness to this shelter that are high-risk of exposure to COVID-19. 

This announcement builds on last week’s opening of T.C. Spirit Village, which is a new tiny house village in the Central District, and the expansion of the Lake Union tiny house village. To learn more about the City’s efforts to shelter Seattle’s most vulnerable communities, watch this video.  

The Lakefront Community House will support up to 50 people and will provide access to hygiene services and case management throughout and beyond the COVID-19 crisis for individuals experiencing homelessness. LIHI will operate and manage the shelter. This project was under consideration prior to the public health crisis and was opened ahead of schedule under the Mayor’s emergency powers. Typically, the siting, development, and opening of an enhanced shelter take several months to complete.  

Located at 600 N130th St in North Seattle, the shelter building is owned by LIHI and has 28 units that can shelter up to 50 people. There are shared restrooms and showers on each floor, common areas, a kitchen cafeteria, laundry, and outdoor spaces. Each room could be used as double or more occupancy, but will likely be used as single occupancy during the COVID-19 crisis. LIHI will provide housing case management.  

The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON), HSD, and LIHI have and will continue to engage neighborhood stakeholders, including the nearby Seattle Housing Authority program, to ensure community has the opportunity to partner with LIHI and the City to support the long-term success of the Lakefront Community House.  


New 24/7 Shelter Opens in North Seattle for 40 Homeless People

Seattle, WA – In response to Seattle Mayor Durkan’s Proclamation of Civil Emergency in the fight against COVID-19, the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) is opening Lakefront Community House, an enhanced shelter located at 600 North 130th St. in the Bitter Lake neighborhood of Seattle. Lakefront Community House will have 24/7 staff, on-site case management and will shelter homeless individuals and couples referred by the city’s Navigation Team. 

“Many homeless seniors and those with compromised health conditions are living unsheltered on the streets and are at risk of exposure to the coronavirus. They need a supportive place to live during the pandemic. In addition, individuals who’ve had surgery and who have been discharged from a hospital need a safe, warm place to recover and should not be returned to the streets,” states Sharon Lee, LIHI Executive Director. All shelter residents must test negative for COVID-19 or show no symptoms when admitted. Residents must also sign and abide by a strict Code of Conduct. 

“The opening of this new shelter means that Seattle’s enhanced and tiny house village capacity has increased by nearly 100 spaces since March–an unprecedented effort to create safe places for people living unsheltered,” said Jason Johnson, director of the Seattle Human Services Department. “Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Durkan and all the City departments involved, coupled with the strong partnership with LIHI, we are able to serve more vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Thank you to everyone that made this happen so quickly.” 

In partnership with the Seattle Human Services Department, LIHI opened up 95 tiny houses and beds for homeless people in response to Covid-19. In addition to Lakefront Community House, last week LIHI opened a new tiny house village in the Central Area, T.C. Spirit Village, located at 612 22nd Ave., and doubled the size of Lake Union Village (LUV) located at 800 Aloha St. in South Lake Union. 

Press are invited to visit Lakefront Community House on Wednesday, April 22, 10am – 1pm, on a first come first serve staggered basis to ensure small groups and physical distance between persons. RSVP required to Josh Castle along with confirmation – (206) 334-0508 / 

Lakefront Community House includes 28 furnished residential rooms with separate rooms for men, women and couples. People with pets are allowed. The 18,000 SF building also includes a community dining room, commercial kitchen, activity rooms, counseling offices, and management and security offices. The building has around the clock staffing and an apartment for an on-site live-in manager. Case management staff will help residents obtain housing, employment, health care, education, and other services. The village is receiving operational support from the Seattle Human Services Department. LIHI owns the property, which was previously leased by another agency to provide residential treatment for women in recovery from chemical dependency and their children. 

In less than a month, LIHI staff, neighbors and volunteers worked together to set up Lakefront Community House quickly—and with careful adherence to social distancing. 

In February, the Seattle City Council voted to amend the original permitted encampment ordinance to allow the continuation of the existing tiny house villages that would have otherwise sunset and permit up to 40 sites which could include tiny house villages, other forms of enhanced shelter, tent encampments, and safe parking to be authorized throughout the city. 

If interested in learning more about LIHI’s enhanced shelter, tiny houses, or other programs or if you wish to donate items, email If you wish to volunteer, email Find more information about enhanced shelter or tiny houses on LIHI’s website: 

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New Tiny Houses for 60 Homeless People Opens on April 15

Seattle, WA – In response to Seattle Mayor Durkan’s Proclamation of Civil Emergency in the fight against COVID-19, the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) is opening a new tiny house village located at 612 22nd Ave (22nd & E. Cherry) in the Central Area on land owned by The Christ Spirit Church. In addition, LIHI is doubling the size of Lake Union Village (LUV) located at 800 Aloha St. in South Lake Union. A total of 50 new tiny houses will shelter up to 60 people experiencing homelessness including singles, couples and people with pets. 

The new village, T.C. Spirit Village, and the expansion at LUV opens on Wednesday, April 15, and provides shelter, safety, hygiene, food, and on-site case management for vulnerable individuals at risk of exposure to the Coronavirus. T.C. Spirit Village will receive referrals of Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and African Americans who are underserved and over-represented in the homeless population. LUV provides shelter for homeless individuals including those living with mental illness, alcoholism and/or chemical dependency. Lifelong provides behavioral health services at LUV. 

Important: Press are invited to visit the two villages on Thursday, April 16, 10am – 1pm, on a first come first serve staggered basis to ensure small groups and physical distance between persons. If interviewing, please bring boom mic to ensure minimum 6-10 feet distance during these. No footage allowed of persons without prior consent. RSVP required to Josh Castle along with confirmation – (206) 334-0508 / 

T.C. Spirit Village includes 28 tiny houses; a community kitchen, a hygiene building with restrooms, showers, and laundry, staff and counseling offices, and a security pavilion. There is 24/7 staffing and case management on-site to help up to 32 residents obtain housing, employment, health care, education, and other services. Members of The Christ Spirit Church will provide donations, services, food and other support. The village is receiving operational support from the Seattle Human Services Department. “We The Christ Spirit Church are our brother’s keeper. We have been longtime advocates for ending homelessness, and this is an opportunity to continue in collaboration with LIHI and the City,” stated Rev. Willie Seals. 

The pre-apprenticeship students in the Tulalip Tribes TERO Program constructed 13 tiny houses at T.C. Spirit Village. Art completed by artist Ty Juvinel decorates the doors. “We applaud the significant contribution of the Tulalip Tribes TERO Program. The students have built over 10% of all the tiny houses in Seattle,” said Sharon Lee, LIHI Executive Director. “The partnership with LIHI has not only allowed us to build tiny houses for the homeless, but has helped us navigate lives and futures. Our students have been honored and grateful to contribute to helping those in need,” remarked Summer Hammons, Tulalip Tribes TERO Program Director. 

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner donated funds to build 9 of the 22 new tiny houses at Lake Union Village. Burrard, a real estate development company, donated funds to help construct both T.C. Spirit Village and LUV. LIHI staff, neighbors and volunteers worked together to set up the villages quickly—and with careful adherence to social distancing—in less than a month. See below for a list of volunteer groups, students and businesses who built and contributed tiny houses. 

“Thank you to Mayor Durkan for declaring a Civil Emergency and providing resources quickly to stand up new villages. There are too many unsheltered homeless men and women who are vulnerable and sleeping outside in the cold. Many are in the high risk group for Covid-19 and have compromised health and weakened immunity. We appreciate the generous contribution of Burrard who made a donation of $250,000 to help build 41 tiny houses,” said Sharon Lee. The gift of 41 tiny houses symbolizes the 41 stories of Burrard’s new NEXUS tower in downtown Seattle. 

LIHI operates 12 tiny house villages in Seattle, Olympia, and Tacoma sheltering over 1,000 homeless individuals each year. Villages offer a safe and dignified place for those living outside. Each house is 8 by 12 feet, costs about $2,700, and has insulation, electricity, heat, windows, and a lockable door. The villages include plumbed on-site facilities with showers, toilets, laundry, and a community kitchen. Each village includes on-site case management staff to help residents obtain housing, employment, and other social services. 

In February, the Seattle City Council voted to amend the original permitted encampment ordinance to allow the continuation of the existing tiny house villages that would have otherwise sunset and permit up to 40 sites which could include tiny house villages, tent encampments, and safe parking to be authorized throughout the city. 

Tiny House Builders: Those who built or donated tiny houses at T.C. Spirit Village include: Burrard, Tulalip Tribes TERO Program, Newport Covenant Church, Mercer Island Methodist Church, Fauntleroy United Church of Christ Church, Sound Foundations Northwest, Annie Wright School, Arlington High School, Ingraham High School, Mountlake Terrace High School, Sawhorse Revolution, Walsh Construction, Dale Hoff and friends, Lane Dorcy and friends, and many wonderful Central Area, International District and Capitol Hill neighbors. 

Those who built or donated tiny houses at LUV include: Burrard, Bobby Wagner, Northwest School, Arlington High School, Rainier Beach High School, Snohomish High School, The Green Hill School, Seattle YouthBuild Georgetown, Thurston County YouthBuild, The Shelton Washington Corrections Center Carpentry Program, volunteers from The Butterfly Effect, The PACT Program, Seattle Pacific University, Sno-King Technical College, 84th Street Cares volunteers, Rugby for Good, Bill Duvall and friends, and many wonderful local neighbors. If interested in learning more about the tiny house program or if you wish to donate items or build a tiny house, email If you wish to volunteer, email Find more information about tiny houses on LIHI’s website:

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