Seattle Residents Open Their Backyards to Host Tiny Homes For Their Homeless Neighbors

The homelessness epidemic across the Pacific Northwest is being addressed by a recent joint venture of two non-profit organizations from Seattle. Through ‘The BLOCK Project’, tiny sustainable homes are being built in the backyards of the charitable volunteers, to be given to the homeless people of the neighborhood.

Architect and founder of the BLOCK, Rex Hohlbein joined Facing Homelessness, another non-profit organization to initiate the collaboration. Facing Homelessness has the responsibility of finding lands in the household backyards, on which Hohlbein’s BLOCK will build small, low-emission housing. The name of the company and the project comes from Hohlbein’s pioneering 125 sq. ft. modular design of the tiny sustainable houses. Hailing their initiative, thousands of Seattle residents have already offered their house backyards for the project. The government also stepped in to make the entire process as legally convenient as possible.

Seattle has been facing a dual problem of having expensive real estate on one hand, and the country’s 3rd largest homeless community on the other. Hohlbein realized that willingness of neighbors could provide a much better and quicker solution than a long waiting for state allowances or big-budgeted government programs. And his visionary idea is now getting proved by continuous building of thousands of tiny backyard homes throughout Seattle.

The long-term goal of the project is to replicate the globally changing definition of housing brought about by AirBnB. According to Hohlbein, in his childhood, it was absurd to think about hosting strangers in a regular household in exchange for little money. But Airbnb has made this concept as casual as it can get. Through The BLOCK Project, Hohlbein aims to replicate the same kind of “cultural shift” with futuristic sustainable housing, starting from the grass-root level of local neighborhoods.