By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News
In early May, tribal council officially broke ground on what was dubbed ‘emergency transitional living units. In the process they began a long requested service that will benefit Tulalip’s membership. It’s been two months since that ground breaking and the first of several planned sites intended to prevent homelessness is nearing completion.
Located across the street from Tulalip Bay fire department, the inaugural site consists of five units that will be fully furnished when complete. Essential amenities include a bath tub with shower, kitchenette and washer and dryer. The living space is compact (240 square feet) and meant for emergency purposes and short term living only.
“These transition units will be a blessing for our community,” stated Chief Operating Officer Wendy Fryberg. “We recognize that our people sometimes have transition requirements, and homelessness should not be a concern for our members who have find themselves in such challenging circumstances.
“We anticipate as soon as these units are complete we will find a location to build more,” she added. “These units are designed to assist tribal members to live independently on a short-term basis while they create relationships with various programs. Those programs will become their stepping stone, providing resources needed for long-term solutions in the prevention of homelessness.”
In addition to providing a sense of stability for families who will use the transitional units as a stepping stone to independent living, each unit will provide crucial comforts like water and sewer utilities, electricity, and the ability to have cable or a Wi-Fi connection.
Rent will be $300 per month to cover the water, sewer and Public Utility District (PUD) costs. There will be more information coming out about the policy, eligibility, and application process for Tulalip membership interested in temporarily residing in one of these transitional units.
By contrast, the Tulalip Tribes homeless shelter utilizes shared utilities, including a shared kitchen area. Many of the region’s tiny home villages that have become more and more common also lack running water and cooking facilities.
“This is our first project of this type. Yes, we have the homeless shelter, but these units have their own bathroom and kitchenette,” explained Vice-Chairman Glen Gobin. “These transitional units will provide a foundation for tribal members to build upon and carry on in a good way. We pray this will be a success for individuals and families who find themselves in such circumstances. This project is intended to assist and help them build a good positive foundation and move forward in that good way.”
Tulalip’s committed construction team has been diligently putting in the necessary work for what is sure to be a game changer in our community. During the recent record-breaking heat wave, construction superintendent Bob Lapham was on-site for each unit’s roof completion. According to Bob the builder, his crew is well coordinated and excited to be working on such a meaningful project. For such a compact size, the units have a large bathroom setup and living quarters with all the necessities, plus they’ll be nice took at both inside and out, he said.
C.O.O. Wendy Fryberg wants the community to know these initial transitional units are on schedule and expected to be complete by July 31st. The procedures and application process will be announced soon. Stay tuned.