12.13.23 newsletter – BREAKTHROUGH WEEK!

weekly newsletter of Sound Foundations NW, a non-profit builder of tiny homes for the homeless in seattle

www.SoundFoundationsNW.org                            soundfoundationsnw@gmail.com


It’s been quite a week at The Hope Factory. Thus the lengthy newsletter filled with lots of good stuff!


On Monday, Microsoft built with us for the first time. Here are a few photos:

That same day, the Sub-Regional Planning Specialist team from KCRHA (i.e., the case managers in the street helping our homeless neighbors) toured our facility, and we finally started our conversation with KCRHA.  We hope to have several more conversations in the upcoming months.


Yesterday we hosted the Gates Foundation.  With very little experience at the start of the day, they built “Peace” our 445th home.  Here are more photos:

Also that same day, Amy Smith, the Chief of Mayor Harrell’s newly created CARE team (https://www.seattle.gov/care/about-us) visited The Hope Factory with Sharon Lee of LIHI for a very spirited conversation with the tour.  Many great things are coming our way!  More details soon.


We have an ongoing winter holiday tradition to create a celebratory item using only materials found at The Hope Factory. This year Aimee created a menorah (of sorts) fashioned from tubes of interior and exterior caulk, decorated with blue painter’s tape and the white paper backing from peel-and-stick flashing tape, and adorned with orange “flames” that are repurposed foam earplugs. Happy Hanukkah! 


On December 21st starting at 3 pm, LIHI is hosting an open house for the first of three new tiny home villages.  Salmon Bay Village is the first RV village, with space for 30 RVs and 10 tiny homes.  The village is located in Interbay where the former car wash with the murals was.  We will close early that day so that we can partake in the festivities.


We are trying something new this year.  In the newsletter on the week when we are closed between Christmas and New Year, we will announce the winners of the First Annual Best of Sound Foundation NW Awards.  The “Soundies” will honor by name those SFNW volunteers who have gone out of their way this year to be a bigger part of the solution to homelessness.  In the tradition of our Fourth Pillar: Have Fun, we will have some wild and wacky categories.  This is where you come in.  If you have an idea for a category like “Most ‘Art’ Created on Volunteer Clothing” or “The MacGyver Award”, email your ideas to SoundFoundationsNW@gmail.com and we will include them in the Soundies.  Submissions are then due by December 18th.   In the December 20th newsletter, we will include a link to vote for your favorites.  Put your thinking caps on and let’s all have some fun with this!


Recently we were contacted by the group WAREI, short for Washington Real Estate Investing, who asked if they could do a fundraiser to benefit Sound Foundations NW.  (Um…half a second later…YES!)

WAREI is a Facebook-based, professional support, education, & discussion group of WA-based real estate investors (https://www.facebook.com/groups/WAREI/) created in 2016 and consisting of 18k+ members from high-level investors down to mom & pop landlords.  The founder is a local real estate professional named Jan (pronounced: Yan) Wanot.  Every year, they choose a different cause/ organization to fundraise for in December, usually chosen by the founder, in an area of interest to him.  Past causes have included addiction resources, right-of-passage youth organizations (college scholarships, vocational training), and other social issues. 

Several months ago, Jan posted in the FB group about driving past tiny home villages and being surprised at how clean, quiet, and functional they seemed, contrary to his expectations.  This sparked a discussion and the suggestion of supporting tiny home villages with this year’s fundraiser.  After some research they found us.  They decided to support us as we offer both the active, direct use of funds to build the homes, as well as hands-on volunteer opportunities for their members to get actively involved.

WAREI solicits their members and their corporate sponsors for donations of items that are auctioned off on behalf of the organization they’re supporting – this year, that’s us.   They have set $50k as their goal.  They are currently running their auction on the Facebook fundraising platform.

links to news stories about homelessness in Seattle and elsewhere

Notes on this article: (from Sally Bagshaw)

  • Despite perceptions of rising homelessness in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, homelessness rates in three of the four cities studied (New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago) declined over the past decade, including through the pandemic. Seattle was the stark outlier. Interview respondents in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York perceived that homelessness was increasing exponentially and leading to a level of public disorder not seen since the 1990s. However, total homelessness rates in these cities declined in the past decade (by 42%, 25%, and 16%, respectively). And it continued this decline during the pandemic (Figure 5). Seattle’s total homelessness increased by 23% since 2015. 
  • Inadequate housing supply, particularly of affordable units –not criminal behavior or drug use –is consistently shown to be the primary driver of homelessness in the U.S.—significantly outweighing factors such as substance use, poverty, and mental health.  To craft policy that addresses the root causes of homelessness, Brookings recommends that local governments align their long-term housing, land use, and homelessness plans to increase the supply of all types of housing.
  • Seattle needs much more short term housing supply….which is the answer to the question “in the meantime while we are increasing permanent housing, what do we do?”  Answer: Tiny home villages and using empty  hotels/motels, and other creative space.

upcoming news and events that impact tiny homes for the homeless, a temporary solution to homelessness, in Seattle
  • December 24th – January 1st, The Hope Factory will be closed.  Happy Holidays!


  • Our “regulars“  are the heart and soul of our organization.
  • “New Crew” members: Kristin, Manu, and Marek. 
  • Our wonderful groups: Epiphany Seattle, Lake WA Sai Ctr., Microsoft (1st time), The Gates Foundation (1st time) Formativeco (1st time) and Bellevue Big Picture School interns.


Come build with us this week! Here’s the link:


  • Please remember to wear painting clothes even if you do not anticipate painting. Minimum age is 16 years. Please, no exceptions.
  • Clarification: If the SignUpGenius says (The name of a Group Build) AND Open Build, this means that you can volunteer even if you are not a part of the group.
  • TEAM LEADERS IN TRAINING: If you wish to become a Team Leader in Training, DO NOT SIGN UP for the day you wish to do this. Email SoundFoundationsNW@gmail.com and we will put you on the list.

We hope to be building with you soon!

Your Leadership Team: Beatrice, Tom, Bruce, David, Timothy and Barb

It Takes a Village to FUND a Village!

YOU are a big part of why stacks and stacks of lumber fill The Hope Factory. There are several ways to give throughout the year. Questions? Please email devel.sfnw@gmail.com.  All gifts qualify as tax deductible but please consult your tax professional for your own situation. To give by check, credit/ debit card, a Donor Advised Fund, or a qualified charitable distribution from your IRA, start on our Donate page, or:

donate to help build tiny homes for the homeless in Seattle
our tiny home sponsor wall thanks donors to Sound Foundations who have donated the cost of materials to build one tiny home for the homeless

Sponsor a Home:

Remember, if you sponsor a home (currently $4500), you get to name the home! Tiny home sponsors have their names (or “anonymous”) and the name of their home added to our Tiny Home Sponsor wall and join our growing list of supporters who’ve reached a little deeper to become part of the solution to ending homelessness. Email devel.sfnw@gmail.com for details.

A Few Reminders

  • We do tours every day but Friday. Come visit if you haven’t been yet.
  • We have a “Welcome to Sound Foundations NW” PowerPoint presentation that is also in .pdf form. If people ask you what we are all about, these are a simple thing to attach to an email to explain who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Email SoundFoundationsNW@gmail.com for this .pdf or PowerPoint.
  • We fund our homes through a combination of private and public donations. For more information, please go to our website – Helping Finance the Homes.

Protocols, Address, Directions

  1. Volunteer at your own risk for Covid or any other illness. If you are experiencing any symptoms, please stay home.
  2. Masks are optional when volunteering at The Hope Factory. There is no shame in wearing a mask.
  3. The minimum age is 16 years. Please, no exceptions.
  4. When you are at The Hope Factory, please social distance whenever possible.
  5. Covid booster shots are not required but highly encouraged.
  6. We are usually there by 9 am or 2 pm on most Sundays. Make sure you double check the times in the Sign Up Genius. You can come and go as your schedule permits. Just let us know so we can plan ahead.
  7. Please bring your own gloves. 
  8. Please leave your own tools at home.
  9. Please bring your own lunch. 
  10. No matter what you do, please come prepared to paint. 
  11. Warehouses can be difficult to heat and cool. Please dress appropriately. 
  12. We currently have no indoor restrooms, Honey Bucket only.
  13. We understand that sometimes life gets in the way of good intentions. If you must cancel at the last minute, please contact us as soon as you know. Others may want to volunteer in your place.
  14. No experience necessary. We train willing hearts.

OUR ADDRESS is 5 S. Nevada St., Seattle 98109 in SODO. 

GOOGLE MAPS – find us here.

Visit our website: