On September 11, 2023, we assembled a group at The Hope Factory consisting of the following people:
- Shannon Braddock, King County Deputy Executive
- Michael Padilla Campo, King County External Relations Associate
- Andrew Lewis, Seattle City Council and Chair of the Homelessness Committee (Invited but did not attend.)
- Teresa Mosqueda, Seattle City Council and Vice Chair of the Homelessness Committee
- Marco Lowe, Director of Operations for Mayor Harrell (Invited but did not attend.)
- Sharon Lee, director of the Low Income Housing Institute
- Jon Grant, political liaison with LIHI
- Jay Yong, head building supervisor for the infrastructure setup with LIHI
- Barb Oliver, Director of Operations, Sound Foundations NW.
This group met and brainstormed ways that we could get to Functional Zero. (https://community.solutions/built-for-zero/functional-zero/) The consensus of the group was that there are 15,000 homeless neighbors in King County, half of those are living on the streets. We worked out a plan to add five more tiny home villages which would create the tipping point to end homelessness.
For the next two weeks, we spent time on a spreadsheet with a calculator and figured out that we would only need four more villages with only 40 homes each to get to the tipping point. Then we took our cost of building a tiny home and LIHI’s costs to both set up the infrastructure and the annual operational costs and extrapolated those figures over time to see how we can actually get to Functional Zero.
The answer is quite remarkable. Only two years and only four more villages than what LIHI has planned will get us to Functional Zero! And at a cost less than the cost of sweeps.
TINY HOME VILLAGES WORK!
We know that tiny home villages work. We have gotten over 3000 of our homeless neighbors off the ground since the program’s inception: over 2000 people last year alone! We know folks who have gone on to school, employment, help with drug and alcohol treatment, and other ways to get to the best part of their lives.
Tiny home villages aren’t the only way to solve homelessness, but they are a big part of the solution. We have a six year track record of success that Mayor Harrell called “the first best solution to homelessness.”
HOMELESSNESS IS SOLVABLE, and here it is in black and white!
The best news of all is that it is affordable. If you look at the total for everything including the cost of homes as well as the cost of setting up AND running the villages, it is only around $69 million. The cost per year is significantly less than the $38 million Mayor Harrell has asked in the budget for sweeps. In other words, it actually costs less to put a roof over the head, a lock on the door, food and a hot shower, and wraparound services for every homeless man, woman and child than it does to sweep a wet tent with a person in it who will just live in their wet tent somewhere else.
We all know that a budget is also a moral document. In this budget with this committee at this time, we can literally change the lives of thousands of our citizens. More people on the streets have died in the first six months of 2023 than all of 2022 combined. THIS PLAN SAVES LIVES.
Here is the spreadsheet with the information: Getting to Functional Zero. 10.13.23
Here is the link to the Zoom meeting where this plan was rolled out with an explanation of the details: