The Council for the Homeless and a local pastor are leading an effort to build a temporary, emergency village of 40 tiny houses for 50 homeless people this winter at a church next to Garrison Square shopping center.
Forty 8-by-10-foot insulated garden sheds with windows and locking doors will be erected on a fenced, 1.5-acre empty field just north of Safe Harbor Church of the Nazarene’s parking lot at 8100 E. Mill Plain Blvd. Aimed at housing the most vulnerable of the homeless, the village will accommodate single women, adults with no minor children and elderly single men. It will have six portable toilets and two large, heated trailers for eating, computing, meeting with caseworkers and hanging out. Tenants won’t be allowed to have visitors, but pets will be permitted.
The village will remain on the site for 12 months, said Andy Silver, executive director of the Council for the Homeless.
“This is a temporary way to provide more safe emergency shelter while we’re figuring out how to create more permanent emergency shelter capacity in the community,” he said Thursday. “This isn’t a long-term solution. … This is a Band-Aid.”
Bill Ritchie, founding pastor of Crossroads Community Church and chairman of the Clark County Council for the Aging, came up with the concept in October after reading a story in The Columbian about people camping by the Share House homeless shelter in tents and mobile huts. He’s been hashing out the details for weeks with the city, county, churches and social service agencies.