Today, the City of Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) announced the opening of Cherry Hill – Spirit Village (T.C. Spirit Village), a tiny house village in the Central District with 25 units for people currently living unsheltered. The new tiny house village is the eighth location of its kind and expands on resources the City has deployed to mitigate against the spread of COVID 19.
The program is sponsored and named after the Christ Spirit Church and located on the church’s property.
The Cherry Hill – Spirit Village (T.C. Spirit Village) will provide safe shelter spaces, access to hygiene services, and case management throughout and beyond the COVID-19 crisis for individuals experiencing homelessness. Although this project was already under development prior to the public health crisis, with the Mayor’s emergency powers, the village was established and opened months ahead of schedule to meet this need.
The City’s Navigation Team will coordinate all referrals at the Cherry Hill – Spirit Village (T.C. Spirit Village) and will partner with the Chief Seattle Club and Seattle Indian Health Center to ensure that Native and First Nation clients are also served by the village.
“In the midst of this public health crisis, assisting those who are the most vulnerable among us has been even more critical. With unemployment skyrocketing, we have worked to ensure more people aren’t falling into homelessness – it is why I moved quickly to halt all residential evictions, invest in a rent relief fund, and provide grocery vouchers,” said Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “For our neighbors experiencing homelessness who are currently sheltered, we’ve prioritized standing up de-intensifying shelters with expanded services and worked with providers to ensure they have the resources they need like personal protective equipment for staff. For those living unsheltered, we’ve made investments in opening more hygiene service locations, and with today’s announcements, more people will have a bed to sleep on. We know that we cannot scale to the need of this crisis without significant efforts by the state and federal government to help the City address the true scale of our housing and homelessness crisis.”
This village—and all City-funded villages—are practicing public health guidelines and social distancing to curb potential exposure to COVID-19. The City is partnering with the Chief Seattle Club and Seattle Indian Health Center to ensure that Native and First Nation clients are served by the village, and the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) will operate the new village and continues to be the operator for all of the City’s tiny house villages. Referrals to the village will be done through the Navigation Team, which refers people living in unmanaged encampments to the City-funded tiny house villages. The team will partner with outreach workers and day centers to connect their clients to a shelter that provides a tiny home, 24/7 access, hygiene facilities, a kitchen, case management, and housing connections. The village will be in place for at least two years.
The tiny house village program is one the most effective sheltering models, proven to safely shelter people and connect individuals to permanent housing. The opening of Cherry Hill – Spirit Village brings the number of City-funded villages to eight, sheltering approximately 230 individuals (the Northlake Village not included in these figures). Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the tiny house village program overall saw a 34% exit rate to permanent housing—one of the highest performing shelter to housing programs the City funds.