April 19, 2019 Dena Jensen
At the April 8, 2019 Bellingham City Council meeting Jim Peterson, President of HomesNOW!, gave a public comment letting the Council know, among other things, that HomesNOW would not be doing any more tent encampments, but would be focusing on tiny homes. Jim explains why in his comment included in this post.
Also, since that day the City of Bellingham granted permission for HomesNOW! to build their first tiny home in the City, at Safe Haven. This will be the prototype for future tiny home villages in Bellingham and Whatcom County. People can PayPal donations to HomesNOW! at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is Jim’s April 8 public comment:
“Bear with me, I don’t usually do this, but I wanted to get it right tonight. First of all, I would like to thank all the city employees for letting us use the parking lot in the winter. It went for a good cause. HomesNOW! was able to house 4 people in 3 months at zero cost to the taxpayers. Also, we were able to provide a safe place for 35 people thoughout the winter. We had no issues with crime. Again, thank you all. We were glad you got your parking lot back.
“We are now moved to 620 Alabama. We did the total move of tents, and everything left when you left here on Friday, in 3 hours on Saturday. I’m so impressed with the community volunteers and the residents that made this happen. We destroyed one community and built another one in three hours. Pretty impressive.
“I’m happy to announce, we’ve moved into Safe Haven on Sunday. And already we’ve confirmed today that our first Safe Haven resident will be housed on Wednesday. Again, no cost to the taxpayers.
With all the success, I’m here to say HomesNOW! Will not be applying for any more tent encampment permits. We know they work, but they’re not the answer. We are working, as I speak now, on an application for a mix of tiny home / tent community, to all be converted from tents to tiny homes by December.
“We’ll have more information on this soon. We’ll be turning in the application within the next week or two. But tents are the answer in the Northwest. They don’t work. If people want to sleep in tents, they can go down by the river and sleep in tents. They’re all over.
“We want to give them something more. The site we’re on now will not withstand a 65 mile an hour wind. We were lucky here. We were blocked by the trees on ones side and the building on the other. The Sunday wind destroyed 2 of our tents. So now we’re rethinking what we’re going to do. We can’t have a smoking tent because it will get destroyed in a high wind. We can’t have a welcome tent because it will get destroyed in a high wind.
“So on the Friday meeting, we’ll be talking to Mr. Sepler about our solution for this. But I just want to inform you, we won’t be doing any more tent encampments. We want to do tiny homes. That’s what HomesNOW! Started out to do 2 years ago, and that’s what we’re gonna do.
“And I hope you’ll work with us like you have. We have a track record now. We are successful. We’ve run a very well-organized ship. We’ve had our problems. We’ve had our bumps in the road. But we had no major difficulties.
“And I want to thank the City for all their help in this. I want to thank Rick Sepler and Lisa Pool for all their hard work they put into this. And look forward to building tiny homes, come August.”