Rotary shares speech from tiny homes resident

Special to the Reporter

Sound Foundations NW now has the Hope Factory set up in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood in a large warehouse to produce tiny homes. The homes are 96 square feet and share common bath and kitchen facilities at tiny home villages around King County. The factory is open to volunteers six days a week to build the tiny homes that help get homeless people off the street and into a transitional tiny home.

At a lunchtime recently, a formerly homeless person came to speak to a group of volunteers, which included several members of the Rotary Club of Mercer Island. He told us how much it meant to have tiny homes available to the homeless. His words say it best, and the following is a summary of what he shared.

“I basically was on the streets for 15 years. Once you’re on the street, you are totally focused on food, where to sleep warm and dry, and how to keep your stuff and backpack from being stolen. That’s all you think about. There’s little chance to look for a job without an address, phone, a place to clean up, interview clothes, or a place to store your stuff while you interview. Once you’re homeless, there isn’t an exit to not being homeless. You just survive the streets.

“That all changed when I got into a tiny home three years ago. I got a key for my door, an address, warm, safe, place to sleep, and access to food and a bathroom. The first week I kept the door locked and mostly slept. With help I found a job in a metal working shop and after a few months had enough money to move into my own apartment. After a while, I bought a car. The shop even made me a supervisor last year.

“I can’t tell you how much it means for you volunteers to build tiny homes for homeless people. Each home gets 3-4 people a year off the street. That’s 30-40 people over 10 years off the street for each home. I can’t talk about it much more. I get emotional. But thank you for volunteering.”