Concerns raised with Seattle's planned closure of tiny home village for at-risk homeless

SEATTLE -- In March, the city of Seattle plans to close the Licton Springs Village tiny home community, which has many people asking what will happen to the dozens currently living there.

For about a year and a half, the Licton Springs Village tiny home community has operated off of Aurora Avenue. The village allows its residents to use drugs, which has caused controversy among community members.

“I know there is push-back from the neighborhood about what goes on on Aurora, by in large it’s not our residents,” said Charlie Johnson.

Johnson is a staff member with SHARE/WHEEL. The group works to maintain the tiny home village. Johnson says Licton Springs Village deals with some of the most at-risk members of the homeless population; the ones, he says, who are dealing with mental and physical disabilities, as well as addiction.

“Any objective party would say it’s been a success. We’ve provided a safe, stable environment,” he said.

Johnson says when the tiny home village closes, that safe environment for these at-risk people will be gone.

“It’s going to cause a lot of stress, a lot of fear, and trauma,” he said.

However, people living near the tiny home village say they’ve dealt with stress, fear, and trauma since Licton Springs Village opened.

“The last year and a half, but especially since the home went in, has been the absolute worst it’s ever been,” said Heather Boetto.

Boetto has lived in her home for more than a decade. It sits just a few feet away from the Licton Springs Village.

She says she has had to deal with some horrendous things in recent months.

“We’ve cleaned up more human waste this summer than we’ve ever had to clean up,” she said.

There has been new fences put up, locks added, surveillance cameras installed, and calls made to police, but nothing has stopped the issue, Boetto says. She says she hopes when Licton Springs Village closes there will finally be some relief.

But other neighbors aren’t as optimistic.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, which is concerning to me. I don’t know where people are going to go,” said Emmi Obara.

Obara also lives across from the tiny home village.

She says she’s worried if the tiny village closes, people in need of assistance will just end up on her street, and their neighborhood may actually get worse.

SHARE/WELL officials say Licton Springs Village has 47 people living in the tiny home village.

At the peak there was about 70 people, they say. But they stopped welcoming new residents a few months ago.

Officials say there are no plans to replace this village at a different location.