Caption: Our Thank You Board, honoring those who have sponsored a home, was supposed to have lasted until the end of the year. Thanks to your generosity, we have just about run out of space! So, we built an addition on to the “home” on the top left.
By Barb Oliver
When I do public speaking and tell people that Sound Foundations NW has the best hearts in the world, I mean it! We also have some of the most generous hearts in the world. You all have been wonderful about giving not only your time but your hard-earned money as well.
Let’s take a look back. There was a point in 2018 when we completed our first goal of building seven tiny homes. We looked out over Camp Second Chance and saw another 30 people still in tents. We told each other that we couldn’t leave them in tents. There had to be a way to get them all in tiny homes. At the time, the homes cost $3500. We scratched our heads and wondered, “How in the world are we going to raise another $105,000?”
Well, we did, and then kept going. When Covid hit, we knew we had to build more homes faster. So we started a GoFundMe Campaign that raised enough money to move us to The Hope Factory. Lowe’s and Operation Tiny Home came through with thousands of dollars for extra tools for us. As we built faster and more homes, that meant that we needed more materials that cost more money.
In the summer of 2020, we had only about one more tiny home’s worth of money in the bank. We honestly thought that we would have to shut down. Then Lowe’s came through with their 100 Hometowns Grant, and we learned how to budget our finances to purchase in bulk to save money. We haven’t looked back since.
Financially we are well…up to a point. Let me explain. In 2021 we received the grant from the City of Seattle ($200,000). In 2022 we received a grant from Amazon Web Services (AWS) of $260,000 and this year we finally received the money that we were granted in 2022 from the WA Dept. of Commerce ($166,840). In the past two and a half years, we have used mostly the grant money to purchase materials, and we took your money and tucked it away in the bank. As a result, we are doing well financially. If our planned production stays the same, we will have enough money to build for about five months. That is a good thing considering that this year our construction costs will be nearly $1 million, the total of our materials costs for last three years COMBINED.
That is if everything stays the same. My guess is that it will not. This is what I see on the horizon. Obviously, Marc Dones has left KCRHA. Who will fill their shoes remains to be seen. Regardless of who is in charge, the revised KCRHA Five Year Plan has come out. In this article:
Anne Martens, KCRHA’s Communications Director (who at one point called tiny home villages “shantytowns”) said.
We have already been in discussions about how we can reinvent The Hope Factory to produce more homes. If we do it right, in our same space, we can build up to 500 homes per year versus the 200 homes that is our current goal. We will grow as an organization as the number of approved tiny home villages increases. Obviously, if/when the number of homes increases, so will the cost of materials.
As in the past, if we can use grant money first, we will. We have already asked the mayor’s office for funding for construction materials for 100 tiny homes. We have also responded to an RFP (request for proposal) from KCRHA, and they actually responded back to us! And, just so you know, we are semi-finalists for the BECU People Helping People Grant ($15-50,000) as well as another private grant ($43,000). We have also formed a Development Team that is looking into other sources of funding.
So, should you keep giving? That, as always, is entirely up to you. Right now, 98 cents of every dollar you give goes right back into the building materials for the homes. We promise to be good stewards of your money and make it go as far as it can go by building as many homes as we can.
The bottom line is this: if there is money in the bank for tiny homes and people to build them, and if there are people on the streets who need a home, we will continue to build. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts. You truly humble us with your continued generosity.
Bernard leads “Storytime”
Last Saturday, Bernard got to be “Barb” for the day. He supervised his crew of Sea Scouts and built a home for his Quartermaster Project. (Sea Scouts are similar to Boy Scouts, and the Quartermaster Project is similar to an Eagle Scout Project.)
Bernard was especially great at doing “Storytime” where we tell new folks about the people side of the tiny home villages. Well done, Bernard!
What’s next for KCRHA?
The Hope Factory will close at 1 pm. so that we can attend the Open House.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7th, 9:30 am, Sound Foundations NW receives its Green Globe Award for Housing from the King County Dept. of Natural Resources.
THURSDAY, JUNE 8TH, Our Bellevue Big Picture School Interns’ last day. For their “final exam”, they will team lead a group of new crew volunteers from Windermere/Burien. That evening, the interns will present their projects at a Mentor Appreciation event at their school.
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HELPED THIS WEEK
- Our “regulars “who are the heart and soul of our organization.
- “New Crew” members: Karen, Jenny, and Peg
- Our wonderful groups: Bernard and the Sea Scouts, Brighton Jones and our Interns
THANK YOU SO MUCH!
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