SEATTLE — The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) briefed a full room at a community meeting about a first-of-its-kind safe lot in Seattle for tiny homes and RVs. The response was nearly two hours of input from neighbors, who are worried it could add to existing problems in Magnolia and Interbay.
“I think we're dealing with some hardcore drug usage,” one neighbor said.
“Why are RVs part of this plan instead of using more tiny homes?” another person asked.
RELATED: RV encampment in Ballard given notice to vacate area or risk being towed
“Is there going to be more triangular guidance on where they can put that secondary vehicle in the neighborhood?” one woman asked.
LIHI explained that the goal is to move a person into permanent housing and dispose of their RV within 90 days, with help from case managers and behavioral health specialists. They want to help about 100 people per year.
A rendering for Salmon Bay Village showed parking spaces for up to 30 RVs, plus 10 tiny houses, laundry, and kitchen spaces, all shielded by a screen fence.
“It's going to be 24/7 security. There's going to be a manager,” explained Josh Castle with LIHI. “There are no drugs and alcohol allowed in community spaces.”
Chanel Horner, who lives in a bus, believes this safe lot south of the Ballard bridge is the next best effort to permanent housing.
RELATED: WATCH: RV explodes in flames as Ballard encampment multiplies by the day
“We need a place to be. And there’s nowhere to be. And we’re tired of being pushed around like cattle,” she said, referring to sweeps that she claims only move people instead of getting them off the street.
LIHI admits it doesn't have all the answers, and neighbors can address any concerns at monthly community meetings.
“They hear updates from staff about how the program's going, how many people got into housing that month,” Castle explained.
LIHI has already identified some RV owners who want to move into the safe lot. Their priority is to find people whose RVs are breaking down or are dangerous to live in because of leaks or mold.
The safe lot is expected to open by early August, with an annual operating cost of $1.3 million.
Right now, Seattle has 7,600 homeless people living outdoors. LIHI operates 700 tiny houses within 18 villages in Seattle. The next tiny home village to open will be The Raven in Ballard in June.