9.13.23 – Backwards and Forwards

header image and logo for Sound Foundations NW, builder of transitional tiny homes for the homeless in Seattle


Backwards and Forwards

volunteers at Sound Foundations NW, a non-profit builder of tiny houses for the homeless in Seattle, celebrate their 400th tiny home with a bbq
volunteers and guests line up for bbq to celebrate our 400th tiny home!



In celebration of our 400th tiny home, Sound Foundations NW hosted 80 of our best friends: volunteers, donors, and advocates, to a BBQ at The Hope Factory. Here is the pictorial story:

volunteers at Sound Foundations NW, a non-profit builder of tiny houses for the homeless in Seattle, celebrate their 400th tiny home with a bbq

volunteers at Sound Foundations NW, a non-profit builder of tiny houses for the homeless in Seattle, celebrate their 400th tiny home with a bbq

volunteers at Sound Foundations NW, a non-profit builder of tiny houses for the homeless in Seattle, celebrate their 400th tiny home with a bbq

volunteers at Sound Foundations NW, a non-profit builder of tiny houses for the homeless in Seattle, celebrate their 400th tiny home with a bbq

volunteers at Sound Foundations NW, a non-profit builder of tiny houses for the homeless in Seattle, celebrate their 400th tiny home with a bbq



This week Sound Foundations NW hosted a summit for members of King County, the City of Seattle, LIHI and us. Here is a brief summary.

In attendance: Sharon Lee, Jon Grant and Jay Yong from LIHI, Shannon Braddock and Michael Padilla Ocampo from King County Executive Constantine’s office, Erin House, Chief of Staff to Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (who, unfortunately, was home with a sick child), Ben Maritz who sits on the Implementation Board of KCRHA and Barb with Sound Foundations NW. Invited but not in attendance: Marco Lowe, Director of Operations for Mayor Bruce Harrell and Andrew Lewis, Seattle City Councilmember and head of the Homeless Committee.

First, we went around the group, introduced ourselves and told everyone what we bring to the table. Next, we identified possible challenges to opening six additional tiny home villages and brainstormed ways to overcome those challenges.

Last, we looked at the numbers and the potential of adding just six more tiny home villages to those existing villages that LIHI has in the short-term pipeline. Here are those numbers.

table showing our five year plan for tiny houses as a solution to homelessness in seattle

That means, if we do this right, we can get to Functional Zero in just 3-4 years!

Here are some excerpts from Barb’s email notes to the group:

We have proven that the tiny home village program is a successful way to get our homeless neighbors off the streets. Yet too many times with too many agencies, we talk it to death and don’t do anything. That is my biggest frustration. I specifically asked all of you to meet yesterday because collectively, in our respective positions, we have the power to get King County to Functional Zero.

I was encouraged by the side conversations between you all. Clearly you are thinking about the solutions to homelessness. My challenge for us is to take yesterday’s conversation one step further. I challenge all of you to “Reply All” to this email and tell us the next three action items you will implement with this group to get us to the additional six tiny home villages.

Since I and Sound Foundations NW believe in leading by example, I will go first.

Right now, SFNW is on pace to produce 175 homes in 2023. We actually had to slow down the pace this year because there wasn’t enough room in our storage facility because not enough homes were going into villages. With a commitment from this group for six more tiny home villages plus the villages that LIHI has in the short-term pipeline, we can and will ramp up to producing a 200-225 home pace immediately.

Within the next six months, we hope to be at a 300 home/year pace thanks in part to working with Uplift NW. With their help, we will have current and former homeless neighbors building with our volunteers at The Hope Factory, having the Uplift folks get paid for building with us.

Bottom line is this: as long as one of our homeless neighbors needs a roof over their head, we will build them a home.

Two years ago, 114 of our homeless neighbors died on the streets. This year, over 500 have died in THE FIRST SIX MONTHS ALONE. How many more will die this year? Next year? How many more can we as a group save from dying?

Folks, we are less than a month away from the rain starting again. Think of yourself out in the rain, never really getting dry, hungry, and broke. If you knew someone like you in your position, what would you say to that person?

What is our next step?


links to news stories about homelessness in Seattle and elsewhere

Wow…read this:

The Five-Year Plan for Homelessness Was Based Largely on 180 Interviews. Experts Say They Were Deeply Flawed.

In other news…

upcoming news and events that impact tiny homes for the homeless, a temporary solution to homelessness, in Seattle

Glenn Leichman obituary photo

Next Tuesday, September 19th, we will be building and tilting up the “G” home, named Glenn, in honor of Glenn Leichman who died last month. During our “Kumbaya Moment” (around 2 pm), we will honor Glenn with our favorite stories of him as one of our own. All are welcome to attend.

Thursday, September 21st starts another round of interns from our friends at Bellevue Big Picture School. Welcome back!

Later this month volunteer extraordinaire Tom Lennon will be traveling for three weeks. Tom normally does all of the prep for the roofs and does many of the roofs himself. Since he will not be here for awhile, we really need folks who know and like to do the roof to step up, especially on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thanks a million!

GROUP BUILDS: September and November are filled. October only has one date, and December is going fast. Email SoundFoundationsNW@gmail.com to schedule your group build.

detail photo of caulking guns ready to build the next tiny house as a solution to homelessness in seattle


THANK YOU! To All Who Helped This Week

  • Our “regulars“ who are the heart and soul of our organization.
  • “New Crew” members: Vicky, Tian, Michael, Joyce, Shelby, Timothy, Victoria, Jeri, and Martha
  • Our wonderful groups: Epiphany Seattle, Lake WA Sai Center, Boeing, and Weyerhaeuser.




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


Sponsor a Home: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

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

Sound Foundations NW