For nine days in the beginning of August, members of the Lakebay Community Church banded together to build a tiny house at the Red Barn in Key Center.
The movement of tiny houses has invaded empty spaces in cities to provide temporary, inexpensive shelter to people experiencing homelessness. Tiny house communities are becoming more common where the homeless population is high, especially in Seattle but also Tacoma.
The church teamed up with Low Income Housing Institute, a Seattle-based foundation that creates and funds tiny home villages, as well as buying low-income apartments, to build a tiny house destined for Tacoma.
Starting on the weekend of August 5, members of the church gathered to build in the middle of a heat wave. As a congregation, they decided to hold their Sunday service at the build site on Sunday so they could continue building.
Parishioner Rebecca Robert suggested the project to the church after it sold property on KP Highway NW that once held its community garden.
“It was a fun activity for the church, a really fun, practical way to use that money,” said Lakebay Pastor Dan Whitmarsh.
While this project does not directly affect the Key Peninsula, it does impact the entire community of those without a roof over their heads.
The congregation was provided with a detailed plan for the tiny house, together with all of the materials needed for the project. The 8-by-12 foot frame and plywood structure is fully insulated and has one window opposite the door. It is not plumbed, but electricity will be added when the unit is placed.
“It was a lot of time and work from a lot of faithful volunteers,” Whitmarsh said. “For me it was just the perfect example of Lakebay and the church at our best, to put a roof over someone’s head. And hopefully a testimony to the world that’s so divided that we can come together despite our differences for the common good.”
The Low Income Housing Institute took possession August 17 and located the home somewhere in Tacoma
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