Gov. Jay Inslee visited a Seattle tiny home village this week as part of a day of meetings with Puget Sound advocates and government leaders on the state’s homelessness crisis while the Legislature considers more spending for policies that are proven to work. The governor’s $800 million proposal would address key gaps in facilities and services by exploring ways to help families and individuals remain in their homes; secure facilities for transitional and permanent housing; and expand behavioral health services.
Tracy Williams is one of tens of thousands of Washingtonians who have found themselves homeless over the last decade. The latest point-in-time data aggregated by the Office of Financial Management in 2020 put the state’s homeless population at more than 83,000. About half were in King County.
“When you’re homeless, you can’t take care of yourself the way you want to,” Williams said. “There’s always some obstacle getting in your way.”
In January 2020, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Tracy contacted a homeless outreach program and a few days later found herself at True Hope Village, a Low Income Housing Institute tiny home village in south Seattle that gets people off the streets rapidly, connects them to health services, and helps them plot a path to permanent supportive housing.
“We need all of these things, but this tiny home approach is extremely effective, because it’s fast, it’s private and it’s secure. And those things allow people to get back on their feet,” Inslee said. “The advantage of a tiny house is you don’t have to wait five or six years. We want housing in months. And that’s what these do.”