Photo by Jessica Keller: Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis, from left, whose district 7 includes Queen Anne, Magnolia and Interbay, speaks about the proposed expansion of the Interbay tiny house village on 15th Avenue, as former resident Bob Williamson, Magnolia Community Council member Janis Traven and Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman listen at a gathering Wednesday in Interbay. Pending City Council and port approval, the site will be expanded to include an additional 30 houses and another hygiene station.
Photo by Jessica Keller: Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis, from left, whose district 7 includes Queen Anne, Magnolia and Interbay, speaks about the proposed expansion of the Interbay tiny house village on 15th Avenue, as former resident Bob Williamson, Magnolia Community Council member Janis Traven and Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman listen at a gathering Wednesday in Interbay. Pending City Council and port approval, the site will be expanded to include an additional 30 houses and another hygiene station.

The tiny house village in Interbay will significantly increase in size this summer when the site expands to accommodate even more tiny homes.

Representatives from the Port of Seattle, which owns the property, Seattle District 7 Councilmember Andrew Lewis, Low Income Housing Institute and community members gathered Wednesday at the village on 15th Avenue West to announce the planned expansion.

Pending Port of Seattle and Seattle City Council approval, about 30 new tiny houses and an additional hygiene station will be built at the existing location on 15th Avenue West, which was originally established in 2017.

Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman said the Interbay tiny house village is the only Port property that has tiny houses on site.

The Port leases the land to the city, which contracts with LIHI to operate the location. Currently, the site serves 50 men and women and three children in 40 houses. Once complete, the expansion will make the Interbay tiny house village the largest in the state with 76 houses.

“This is not a solution for homelessness, but it is a very important step,” Bowman said at the event Wednesday.

Former tiny house village resident Bob Williamson, who recently moved into a studio apartment owned by LIHI in Capitol Hill, said the city needs more villages like the one in Interbay.

“If it wasn’t for LIHI and a place like this, I never would have made it into permanent housing,” Williamson said.

After Wednesday’s event, Lewis said he contacted Bowman at the port about expanding the Interbay site after walking past on the way to Met Market in January and noticed there was unused space next to the current village that could hold more houses.

Lewis, who has advocated for the city to build even more tiny house villages and sponsored his “It Takes a Village” campaign to identify future village locations, said the expansion at Interbay will be important in reducing the number of homeless encampments in the city.

“I think the encampment situation is an emergency,” Lewis said.

The proposed tiny house expansion in Interbay will accompany two other locations the Seattle Human Services Department selected to be new tiny house village sites this year.

At Rosie’s Tiny House Village, which will be located at 1000 N.W. 45th St., 36 tiny homes will be built and serve up to 50 people.

At Friendship Heights Tiny House Village, 12245 Aurora Ave. N., 35 to 40 new tiny houses will be built that could serve up to 55 people.

Each of the proposed villages were proposed and approved as part of the 2021 budget and build on Seattle’s year-long work to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 by de-intensifying shelters, creating new enhanced shelter space, developing two hotel-based shelter programs and standing-up tiny house villages.