“Yes, In My Backyard!” Seattle’s Sustainable Approach to Homelessness

“No in my backyard” — a common concept that potentially prohibits social justice and discourages us work toward a better community for everyone. Homelessness, for example, is a serious issues that causes many of us to look away.

The Block project is an innovate plan that invites the whole Seattle community to provide a modern solution to the homelessness with cross-class integration, social inclusion, and architectural design. The project aims to put an off-grid tiny home into the backyard of every single-family lot on residentially zone in Seattle.


“The BLOCK Project invites community into the task of ending        homelessness by placing a BLOCK Home in the backyard of one single-family lot on every residentially zoned block within the City of Seattle. Each 109 sq ft home is beautifully designed to be off-grid, self-sufficient, and amenity-rich (featuring a kitchen, bathroom, sleeping area, solar-panels, greywater system, composting toilet, etc.). The BLOCK Project represents an innovative leap forward on the issues of homelessness, cross-class integration, social inclusion, and architectural design.”


The block house is a sophisticated green design to be off-grid, self-sufficient using green technology. The living solution for homeless will no longer to be just a simple shed or even a cardboard box, instead there will be a warm space which will feature a kitchen, bathroom, solar panel, sleeping area, grey water system, composing toilet and front porch. The Block Project not only represents a step forward on the problem of homelessness, but also demonstrates the modern and environmentally housing option for our own community.


Throughout the city there are other solutions for  homelessness. The Low Income Housing Institute recently built 40 tiny homes in Georgetown on land they owned. Residents will have access to a 12 x 8 home, a communal kitchen and a shower house. The tiny house village will provide temporary shelter to about 70 residents and is a private and safe space that homeless people can access 24/7 and be able to secure their personal accessories. There is also a security guard on duty and residents are expected to sign in and also help with communal chores. The tiny homes have heat and electricity and were built by volunteer students in high school and college vocational programs.


Both solutions are important to helping the homeless population. The Block project is a different model than the LIHI, and is meant to be a long-term sustainable housing solution that encourages our community to open their arms and integrate housing for homeless persons into the fabric of our neighborhoods. The Block project evokes compassion from our hearts and helps us make the connection between us and people who are less fortunate and need our help. Social injustice can only be resolved with our awareness, our emotion, and our kindness.

It’s time for us to open our hearts and say:

“Yes, in my backyard!”

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