Tiny House Movement builds success

Tulalip students put skills to use for the homeless

 

Students in the Tulalip Construction Training program are building two tiny houses to help the urban homeless population in Seattle. Photo/Mara HIll

Students in the Tulalip Construction Training program are building two tiny houses to help the urban homeless population in Seattle.
Photo/Mara Hill

 

By Mara Hill, Tulalip News 

An old, rusty building left over from a time when Quil Ceda Village was the Boeing Test site hides a treasure. You walk inside and you’re surrounded by people hard at work. The sound of drills buzzing, hammers banging and voices raised in a friendly hello.

The workers are students of the Tulalip Construction Training program. They each come from a tribal nation, some as far away as South Dakota. Their dreams vary, one wants to build a patio for his son’s grandmother, others want to join a union, or add to their skills for do it yourself projects or to improve their qualifications for work. Currently, they’re building their skills through a “tiny house” project that will assist with a subject near and dear to my heart, homelessness.

I have been homeless. Not sleeping on the ground in the rain kind of homeless, but staying at a friend’s house, couch-surfing kind of homeless. I was anxious and depressed. It was the darkest place I’ve ever been in my entire life. I write this with tears in my eyes as I remember striving for some kind of normalcy for my daughter. I was willing to do anything to have a home of my own.

I’m on my way to that normal life. Through the Tiny House Movement, with the help of the Tulalip Tribes, the urban homeless population of Seattle will also have a chance to change their lives.

Tiny house encampments evolved out of tent communities. These encampments are increasing in popularity due to the rising cost of housing. Tiny homes generally don’t exceed 500 square feet, and can be easily moved from one location to the next.

Instructor Mark Newland, and his students of the Tulalip Construction Training program received the housing materials on May 7 and began construction of two approximately  8’ x 12’ Tiny Houses on May 11, 2015. The homes have no amenities, just an open floor plan. However, residents have a roof over their head, a single window, front door with lock, and a single light switch. Each home also features a state of the art fan to control humidity and keep the homes livable during hot weather.

Each house will take between five and ten days to construct. The homes are basic, but simply having a locked door and a safe place to sleep is a game changer for many homeless citizens.

These houses are being donated to Nickelsville, a homeless encampment in Seattle named after former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, in protest to the way he handled the homeless situation.

“Making homelessness criminal, that’s kind of the way a lot of towns go. Running people out of town doesn’t settle the problem. It’s not a human solution. Unfortunately we need a lot more [resources] for the homeless than we have, both here on the reservation and elsewhere too,” explained Sandy Tracy,  Manager of the Tulalip Homeless Shelter, about the stigma that homelessness carries. Many of those in need don’t receive help because of perceptions about their character, rather than their situation.

 

The approximately 8’ x 12’ structures each take five to ten days to complete and will be delivered to Nickelsville on June 9. Photo/Mara Hill

The approximately 8’ x 12’ structures each take five to ten days to
complete and will be delivered to Nickelsville on June 9.
Photo/Mara Hill

 

This donation is a great way to remind us of our humanity, that those too are people. It’s a great way to express to another community that we care.

Tribal communities experience homelessness but not always to the point of sleeping under underpasses and camping in the woods. Many tribal members are interrelated, or know each other, so there is more couch-surfing homelessness on Tulalip than in the outside communities.

Tracy called the tiny house movement a useful tool for the homeless.

“I’ve seen the little houses where someone is at least out of the elements and have a good door between them and whoever is wandering around. I think those are very good things.”

The dedication to Nickelsville will be Tuesday June 9, 2015 at 1001 S. Dearborn in the International District of Seattle.

 

Contact Mara Hill, mward@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

 

Number of Homeless Native American, Black Students in Washington State Increases

Simon Moya-Smith, Indian Country Today 

 

The state of Washington’s Native American and black K-12 students are three times more likely to be homeless than their white peers, a new study finds.

In the 2013-14 school year, 7.6 percent of Native American students in Washington were counted as homeless. Likewise, 7.6 percent of the black students there were also counted as homeless, according to a reportby the state’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

That same year, Washington’s Hispanic and Latino students suffered a 4.1 percent homelessness rate. In comparison, 2.3 percent of white students were counted as homeless.

The overall percentage of homeless K-12 students throughout the state jumped six points from the previous year, Joseph O’Sullivan of The Seattle Timesreported. During the 2012-13 school year, there were 30,609 homeless students. The next year, there were 32,494.

Elected officials in Washington are struggling with a recent state Supreme Court ruling to fully fund all K-12 schools, which threatens the funding to some social services programs.

“These numbers make it clear that funding education at the expense of the safety net is a false choice,” Rachael Myers, executive director of the The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, told O’Sullivan in a statement. “Sufficiently funding basic education means funding what children need both inside and outside the classroom.”

Caleb Dunlap, Ojibwe, who worked with Washington’s Native American homeless community for three years as program manager for the Seattle-based Chief Seattle Club, a local nonprofit that works to provide homeless Natives with basic needs and services, told ICTMNhe believes the increase in homeless students is due to the spike in homeless families.

Dunlap said even the state’s health and human services information line, 2-1-1, where families in need can seek assistance, often falls short.

“All they’re telling you is ‘this shelter’s full’ and ‘that shelter’s full’,” he said. “They’re just giving you the run around.”

Dunlap added that the endemic of homelessness in Washington is punctuated by certain rules and regulations. The age of a child, for example, is reason enough to deny a parent access to temporary housing, he said.

“I would say that Seattle needs to provide better direct access to emergency shelters and temporary to permanent housing options for families facing homelessness,” he said. “Often family services can be limited due to the age of children. In the case of single mother families it can be harder for them to find housing placements if they have male children over the age of 13 due to often being in housing placement with domestic violence victims.”

Seattle, Dunlap said, was designated as a relocation city during the Indian relocation acts of the 1950s and ’60s. The acts encouraged Native Americans to relocate from reservations to cities with promises of jobs and vocational training. The city soon experienced a growing number of homeless Native Americans after some began to lose employment.

“They ended up not getting the very best jobs and that’s kind of where it started,” he said.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/01/20/number-homeless-native-american-black-students-washington-state-increases-158778

Teens Murder for Fun; Smash Heads of Homeless Men with Cinder Blocks

Courtesy Albuquerque Police DepartmentAlex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are suspects in the brutal deaths of two homeless Navajo men in Albuquerque on July 21.

Courtesy Albuquerque Police Department
Alex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are suspects in the brutal deaths of two homeless Navajo men in Albuquerque on July 21.

 

Alysa Landry, 7/24/14, Indian Country Today

 

Navajo President Ben Shelly is calling for answers in the gruesome murders of two homeless Navajo men last weekend in Albuquerque.

The victims, whose names have not yet been released, were beaten so brutally with a cinder block and other objects that they were unrecognizable. Their bodies, one lying on a mattress and one on the ground, were found Saturday morning in an open field in northwest Albuquerque.

Three teenagers, Alex Rios, 18, Nathaniel Carrillo, 16, and Gilbert Tafoya, 15, are each being charged with two open counts of murder, tampering with evidence, three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and robbery. The teens likely will be tried as adults and all could face life in prison.

During their first appearance in court Monday, bail was set at $5 million for each of them. But even with suspects behind bars, New Mexico’s largest city and the neighboring Navajo Nation are still reeling from the attack.

President Shelly has requested a meeting with Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, during which he hopes to discuss ways to assist the city’s homeless population. The teens charged in the murders claimed to have attacked as many as 50 other homeless people during the past year, according to court records.

“Innocent men do not deserve to be murdered in their sleep,” Shelly said in a press release. “It’s beyond senseless that these teens would attack homeless people in this manner.”

The Albuquerque Police Department, which is under federal Justice Department scrutiny because of its high number of officer-related shootings – including a March incident during which an officer shot and killed a homeless Native man – was appalled by the violence of the recent attack, spokesman Simon Drobik said.

RELATED: What the Hell Is Wrong With Albuquerque Cops?

RELATED: Recent Police Shootings in Albuquerque Draw Federal Investigation

“My stomach turns when I think about it,” he said. “When all you know is that two people are dead and juveniles are in custody, it’s hard to wrap your brain around it. It was such a heinous crime and the nature of violence was so traumatic.”

The teens told police that they went out after a party looking for “someone to beat up,” according to the criminal complaint. Tafoya reportedly was upset because he recently broke up with a longtime girlfriend.

They tied black T-shirts around their faces in an attempt to conceal their identities then walked to a field near two of the teens’ homes, where they found three subjects sleeping on mattresses. One of the victims managed to run away, but the teens repeatedly beat the other two men with their hands and feet, as well as cinder blocks, wooden sticks and a metal fence post.

According to Tafoya’s statement to police, the teens “took turns picking cinder blocks over their heads and smashing them into the male subjects’ faces.” Tafoya admitted to using the cinder block as a weapon more than 10 times.

Drobik called the case “specifically brutal” because it involves two vulnerable populations: teenagers and homeless.

“Kids are killing transients,” he said. “My initial response was: who failed these kids? How did they get to this point in life where they thought this was an acceptable thing to do? It’s heartbreaking for everyone involved.”

The victims’ bodies were transported to the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator. A spokeswoman for that office confirmed the men were Native, but declined to release their names. It could take up to 90 days for autopsy reports to be complete, she said.

 

Bedding, clothing and broken glass litter a homeless encampment in Albuquerque, Monday, July 21, 2014, where three teenagers are accused of fatally beating two homeless Navajo men. (Jeri Clausing/AP Photo)
Bedding, clothing and broken glass litter a homeless encampment in Albuquerque, Monday, July 21, 2014, where three teenagers are accused of fatally beating two homeless Navajo men. (Jeri Clausing/AP Photo)

 

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/07/24/kids-are-killing-transients-brutal-murder-teens-two-navajo-men-156034