Inspiring Story of the Week - October 18, 2021

Thousands Offer to Host Tiny Homes and their Homeless Residents in Their Own Seattle Backyards

Reprinted from Good News Network website...

A pair of non-profits are housing homeless people in tiny sustainable homes in the backyards of charitable volunteers who decide to host them.

The Seattle-born partnership hopes to replicate the “cultural shift” brought about by Airbnb to tackle the homelessness epidemic in the Pacific Northwest, as well as introduce concepts of sustainable housing to thousands of charitable residents who have offered their yards.

After befriending a homeless resident outside of his architecture studio, Rex Hohlbein transitioned his career towards helping others by starting the BLOCK Project—its name playing on the words for neighborhood, and for the shape of the tiny houses he would pioneer.

Seattle has the dual problems of expensive real estate and the third-largest homeless community in the country, which led Hohlbein to reason that kindly neighbors could have a much better impact than waiting for a big-budgeted government program.

He founded BLOCK, along with Facing Homelessness. The latter would find backyards in which the former could build small, low-emission housing, and the government stepped in to make the process as legally expedient as possible.

Zoning law

s already allowed for “accessory dwelling units” to be present on existing properties, and to ensure there’s no impact on property tax for those volunteering their backyards, the non-profits sign five-year leases for the tiny houses.

“Airbnb, the idea of a complete stranger staying in your house while you’re sleeping—that’s crazy,” Hohlbein told Fast Company. “I’m old enough to know the time before Airbnb, and that thought was just ludicrous. And now nobody thinks about it. So we believe that the same kind of cultural shift will happen with the Block Project.”

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