Tag: News

Billy Frank Jr. Place Dedication Ceremony

On June 1st, a dedication ceremony was held in Olympia for Billy Frank Jr. Place, which features 43 new affordable apartments serving homeless veterans, homeless young adults, disabled individuals, and other members of the community.  Located at 318 State Ave NE.

Top Middle: Willie Frank (Billy Frank Jr.’s son) and Sharon Lee with the Nisqually Canoe Family, who performed traditional songs to bless the opening of Billy Frank Jr. Place

Friends, family, members of the Nisqually Tribe, dignitaries, and housing supporters gathered to honor and remember Native American environmental leader and treaty rights activist Billy Frank Jr., renowned for his grassroots campaign for tribal fishing rights in Washington. Billy, a member of the Nisqually Tribe, was chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for 25 years until his passing in 2014. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Billy Frank Jr.

Willie Frank:  “My father fought his whole life, not just for the Nisqually, not just for native people, but for everybody here in Washington. To have a building named for him here in the state capitol is truly an honor for my family and the Nisqually people. My dad has been honored a lot since he died, and I think he’d laugh about it because he didn’t live the life he lived for recognition but because it was what was in his heart.”

Speakers reminisced about both Frank’s tenacious activism and his irascible sense of humor.  Doors behind the stage kept blowing open and several speakers paused to acknowledge the spirit of Billy entering the room.

Debbie Preston Back row, left to right: Alfie Alvarado-Ramos, Peggen Frank, Sharon Lee, Congressman Denny Heck, Willie Frank, Nisqually Tribe Chairman Farron McCloud, Trudi Inslee, LIHI Boardmember Melinda Nichols Front: Tribal Council Secretary Sheila McCloud

Congressman Denny Heck: “I am lucky beyond measure to have called Billy a friend for many decades and am grateful that this building was named for him. I am going to make a request of you in the spirit of Billy. I’m a little depressed because I just watched the President of the United States make us become only the third country on the face of the planet to not commit to the Paris Climate Accords. If there was anything Billy stood for it was taking care of mother earth so it could take care of us. Cool, clean water! I’m asking you, every time you walk or drive by this place, to take a moment to remember just what Billy fought for. What can we do? I get asked this every day. Billy never gave up. He was arrested 59 times and he never once gave up, and went from being a radical protestor to becoming the great uniter. Let this building remind us that we should never give up.”

State Representative Beth Doglio: “This building is more than concrete and steel and walls and floors and ceilings. It’s a stable home for many in our community who haven’t had that. That’s what can happen when we have a vision and a partnership amongst so many different organizations and government institutions in our community. Thank you for the hard work you did to make this happen. Having a stable home is the only way that people can put their lives back together, and it is a basic human right! Invoking Billy Frank Jr. for this cause is spot on. Billy was nothing if not persistent. We need to be banging on our elected representatives’ doors every day and demanding that housing be a priority.”

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Othello Village Gets Heat!

Tiny House Village Gets Heat Thanks to Donations

Seattle, WA – Nickelsville Othello Village, a city-sanctioned tiny house village serving homeless families and individuals received a significant quality of life upgrade as heat and electricity have been installed in all the tiny houses. Heat, light and electrical outlets were made possible due to generous donations from individuals, foundations and organizations.

Currently 61 people live in Othello Village, including 50 adults and 11 children.

The residents are ecstatic given the cold weather these past few weeks. “This is the first time I’ve had a door and heat in six years. Thanks so much. It is so life altering. We are so blessed,” said Mitze, who had tears in her eyes. “This is the end of a long hard winter. Thanks for your donations,” said Sean.

Othello Village is the third city-sanctioned encampment and was opened by LIHI and Nickelsville in March of 2016 as a crisis response to homelessness. Many people are not able to access traditional shelters, including couples, men with children, families with teenage sons, people with pets, and individuals who are working and need a place to keep their belongings safe. Over 3,000 men, women and children are on the streets unsheltered according to the January 2016 One Night Count.

LIHI executive director Sharon Lee said: “We had a bare bones budget when we opened Othello Village last year. At that time we did not have money to install electricity and heat in the tiny houses. We are most grateful to the many donors who made this possible. A little heat goes a long ways when your house is 8 feet by 12 feet, the size of a small bedroom.” A small family can fit in a tiny house and a large family can fit in two tiny houses side by side.

LIHI Boardmember Melinda Nichols said, “We’ve been learning a lot. Just insulating the houses was not enough. Heat is necessary both for the residents and for keeping the tiny houses dry and free from moisture damage.” The International District Rotary is helping LIHI raise money for the portable hot oil electric heaters, which cost $61 each.

Located near Othello Light Rail Station at 7544 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S., the village contains 28 insulated tiny houses that are 8 feet by 12 feet and 12 tents on platforms. The village has a kitchen, a community tent, a shower trailer, a donation hut and a security booth. The village provides shelter for vulnerable families and individuals experiencing homelessness. The property is owned by LIHI and Nickelsville residents participate in self-help and democratic decision-making in the day to day operations. The Seattle Human Services Department provides funding for operations and case management services to help people obtain housing and jobs.

In the nine months the village was in operation in 2016, LIHI moved 68 Othello Village residents into housing and 13 into other shelter. 14 have been reunited with family and friends. 19 have found employment.

Most of the tiny houses were built by volunteers. The organizations and pre-apprenticeship programs that donated their resources and energy to build the tiny houses are: the Tulalip Tribes TERO Training Program, YouthBuild, Hazel Wolfe K-8 School, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Rebuilding Together, Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Employment for Women (ANEW), Renton Technical College, Paul G. Allen Foundation, Seattle Vocational Institute, Sawhorse Revolution, Valley Cities, Carpenters Apprenticeship, Portable Storage NW, and Walsh Construction. Hundreds of community volunteers also painted, tiled and furnished the tiny houses.

LIHI, in partnership with Nickelsville and SHARE, hopes to duplicate the success of Othello Village at our future tiny house villages, including two upcoming city-sanctioned sites opening in Georgetown and Licton Springs.

Volunteers, donors and supporters continue to play an integral role in developing an effective crisis response to ending homelessness. For information on volunteer opportunities, please visit Get Involved.  To donate, please visit Donate.