Building Hope with Tiny Homes: Seattle, WA
Since 2021, members of the Sri Sathya Sai Center of Lake Washington, along with Young Adults in the Seattle area, have been collaborating with a local organization, Sound Foundations North West, to build tiny homes for the homeless. Homelessness is a growing crisis across the US, impacting more than half a million people, with 60% living in shelters and transitional housing, and the rest unsheltered on the streets, in tents and abandoned buildings. Tiny homes offer tremendous benefits – they are habitable, safe, weatherproof and secure. Each home has electricity, overhead light, insulation and a heater. These tiny homes, along with common kitchen, bathroom & laundry facilities, create warm and safe villages for members of the homeless community. These villages help set the homeless on the path to permanent housing, employment and connection to other supportive services.
Volunteers, who help build the homes, are an essential part of this grassroots solution to Seattle's homelessness crisis. They construct 8’ x 12’ tiny homes in a large warehouse.
The process involves skills that would seem overwhelming to the uninitiated - cutting the wood using power drills, assembling using drills and nail guns, building the roof and inner walls, and finally, caulking and painting the house. But inexperienced volunteers need not fear as there are friendly coordinators on site who will patiently guide them. In no time, even a novice can get quite adept and handy with the tools. Nearly ten volunteers participate twice a month. It has been both a fun and rewarding experience for all.
Here is a reflection from a member involved in this project: "Since moving to Seattle in 2019, I have been actively involved in Sai service activities. In general, every human being has three essential needs - food, clothing, and shelter. I have participated in various feeding services and clothing drives, but building a shelter for someone in need seemed like an impossible dream. I would console myself, saying it was a problem beyond the scope of my ability. And then came long this project, and a chance become a volunteer in the construction of tiny homes. I consider myself blessed as I had a yearning desire but felt I lacked the necessary skills. I went there feeling very apprehensive but, to my surprise, the coordinator at the warehouse had set up a very user-friendly process that would enable anyone, even those with no prior experience, to learn step-by-step the skills needed to construct a tiny home. Now, every time I participate in this service project, I grow in self-confidence and feel a great sense of accomplishment. It has truly been immensely gratifying to know that every time I drill in a nail or paint a wall, I am helping to provide a roof over someone's head."