The Port of Seattle Commission voted today to renew the lease agreement with the City of Seattle for continued use of the Tsubota site for the Interbay Tiny House Village. The extension is for one year and will expire in November of 2020. The City of Seattle has leased the site since November of 2017.
“The Port of Seattle is pleased to partner with the City of Seattle and the community in addressing the homelessness crisis in our region,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Stephanie Bowman. “We hope extending this lease for another year will help more people get shelter and the help they need so they can transition successfully into permanent housing.”
“The Human Services Department is grateful to the Port of Seattle for their support of Interbay Safe Harbor Village. Since 2017 the partnership has made lasting, positive impacts on the lives of over 324 people served, or 277 households, as well as on the surrounding community,” said Seattle Human Services Department Director Jason Johnson. “HSD is honored to continue this partnership and provide life-saving services and shelter to assist people in finding paths to permanent housing.”
Interbay Village Background
The Village is managed by the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) in partnership with the residents of the village through a democratic self-governance structure. In addition, two case managers are on site daily to support the residents in obtaining housing, employment, healthcare, education and other services as they transition to permanent housing.
The program was first established on Seattle City Light property
in November of 2015 as a self managed sanctioned tent encampment with portable
toilets and part-time case management. At the end of the two-year stay, the
City and community began searching for a viable option to keep this critical
program open, Through the Port’s initiative and partnership, the Tsubota
property was made available and allowed the next iteration of the
program—Interbay Safe Harbor Village—to open in 2017.
When the program relocated to the Port property most of the tents were replaced with insulated wooden sleeping structures, commonly referred to as tiny houses. In addition to the 45 tiny houses, the village now has running water and showers on-site. A strong and transparent democratic self governance structure has emerged, A program manager and two case managers are on site daily to support the residents. The Community Advisory Council meets monthly to review operations and help connect village residents with the surrounding community.
These positive aspects have worked together to create measurable results: since opening, the village has served more than 400 households, helping at least 106 households exit homelessness. During the first quarter of 2019, 53 percent of households exiting Interbay Safe Harbor Village entered permanent housing, making it one of the highest performing tiny house village projects in the city. This success would not be possible without the Port of Seattle.