LYNNWOOD — Residents of a homeless encampment in Lynnwood will stay a little drier and warmer this winter after being able to replace their tents with temporary shelters.
With a light rain falling, the 64-square foot units were assembled in quick succession Thursday morning on the grounds of Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Lynnwood, making it the first sanctioned tiny home village in Snohomish County. Six in total were installed.
“A tent is a tough place to call home,” said Chris Frizzell, a Lynnwood councilmember.
Shepherd’s Village, which is sponsored by the nonprofit Jean Kim Foundation, provides homes for Edmonds Community College students experiencing homelessness.
“The idea is not that someone will live here for 20 years. It’s transitional,” said Frizzell, who also sits on the foundation’s board.
The encampment, which opened in 2017, was the first authorized tent encampment in Lynnwood. During the first winter, snow and rain caused the tents to collapse.
“Within a year it became obvious we needed something solid,” Frizzell said.
The organization successfully petitioned Lynnwood to permit tiny homes earlier this year. The new rules allow the use of small portable structures at outdoor encampments.
“I was convinced this was the way to go,” Frizzell said. “For less than $7,000 you can provide transitional housing for someone. And get us through this crisis, hopefully.”
The units, which are manufactured in Everett, were designed by the Seattle-based company Pallet, SPC. The acronym stands for Social Purpose Corporation.
“They were originally designed for disaster relief and can be installed and broken down quickly,” said Brittany Hamel, a representative for the company.
She said the shelters can be assembled in 20 minutes and are reusable.
The tiny homes will have electricity, heat and air conditioning. Inside, a bed folds down from one wall and three shelves line another. Desks will also be set up to give a place for the students to work. There will be internet access as well.
College students who live at Shepherd’s Village are vetted by the foundation, which requires residents to abstain from drugs and alcohol. A manager lives onsite.
“We want to be a regional model for other organizations and nonprofits,” Frizzell said.