by Elizabeth Turnbull
In roughly three weeks, community organizers transformed a bare lot in Skyway into a new village filled with tiny homes and amenities for people living without houses — creating a path for residents to ultimately transition to permanent housing.
“We are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper, so this is what it’s about,” said Min. Kathy L. Taylor at a press event for the village, held Tuesday, June 9. “All of us at some time need some help, so this is a transition for folks that may have had a setback so that they can come here and have a strong comeback as they transition into permanent housing.”
Many hands are responsible for the building of the Progressive Skyway Tiny House Village at 12429 56th Place South, which is on track to open on June 15. Min. Taylor and her husband, Rev. Curtis Q. Taylor, allowed the homes to be built on the land where their church, the Seattle Word Of God Church, will eventually stand.
Each of the 35 tiny homes in the village has insulation, a bed, shelving, heating, electricity, windows, and a door that locks. Outside of the homes, residents will also have access to a community kitchen, hygiene facilities, laundry, and a case management office. In addition to amenities, the village is surrounded by a fence and has a security pavilion at the entrance.
Staff with the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), one of the organizations responsible for the village, will be on site 24/7, and residents will have access to LIHI case management staff to help them obtain permanent housing, employment, health care, child care, and other services.
King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, a sponsor and advocate for the village, praised its quick construction and months of preparation by community members and volunteers.
“There was nothing here three or four weeks ago, and so when I rolled up today and I see what we have going here, I was blown away,” Zahilay said. “This just shows you the power of our community — the power of the Skyway community. If you give the people of Skyway the tools and the resources they need and the opportunity to succeed they will achieve amazing things, and there has never been a better example than what we have here today.”
While the village is funded by the County as an emergency shelter through 2023, one speaker at the press event and sponsor of True Hope village on Yesler Way, criticized the County’s general support for houseless people, saying that it needs to do more.
“My grandfather was in the Tulsa Rebellion — they call it a massacre but it started as a rebellion — when people said, ‘Enough is enough we’re tired of being lynched, we’re tired of being treated like garbage, we’re tired,’” said Rev. Robert Jeffrey Sr. of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. “And I think there comes a time in people’s lives when you just get tired.”
While Rev. Jeffrey praised the village for providing a safe space for people struggling with houselesness, he expressed exhaustion with the County’s spending habits amid a growing housing crisis which has been exacerbated by the pandemic and issues of racism and sexism.
“You get tired of seeing the millions of dollars flowing from the hands of the government for poor people being eaten up by rich developers; you get tired of seeing politicians playing games with the lives of innocent children, poor people being pushed and herded out of their communities like cattle; you just get tired,” said Rev. Jeffrey. “King County needs to do more. King County’s housing budget is miniscule. That’s not going to work in these times.”
While the village is already built, organizers are still looking for donations of warm clothing, socks, shelf-stable foods, blankets and bedding, and other things in addition to food and meals from members of the community and others willing to help.
If you are interested in donating or volunteering, email
Elizabeth Turnbull is a journalist with reporting experience in the U.S. and the Middle East. She has a passion for covering human-centric issues and doing so consistently. Her work includes comprehensive documentation of the Seattle protests following the murder of George Floyd as well as news coverage from her time writing for the Jordan Times, where she covered news about resources and governmental provisions for refugees.
📸 Featured image: Skyway residents speak at a June 8, 2021 press conference announcing the June 15 opening of a tiny home village in the neighborhood. (Photo: Jack Russillo)
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