Executive director of tribal services Teri Nelson, left, speaks at the groundbreaking for local homeless housing units, with help from Tulalip Tribal board member Misty Napeahi on Sept. 30.


The Tulalip Tribes broke ground on their "Village of Hope" project that will create 17 tiny homes to provide permanent shelter to homeless individuals.

Officials gathered on Sept. 30 to break ground and begin construction of the homes, which they expect to be ready for occupancy by April 2022

The project will have tiny homes that are one or two bedroom cottages, which is bigger than the typical tiny homes that Seattle currently uses.

“We started off with tiny homes that were so small they were like fireworks stands,” said Teri Gobin, Tulalip Tribal chairwoman. “We figured that wouldn’t work for our people because we wanted them to have a place that had heat, that had water, that they could cook in."

Support services will also be located on site.

“The site will also include a big community building that will host laundry facilities, a computer lab, a community kitchen and the staffing of social services,” said Teri Nelson, executive director of tribal services with the Tulalip Tribes and one of the main organizers of the project.

Families, couples and individuals will all have shelter options at the village.

The project came about in part due to a $2.7 million grant from the Washington state Department of Commerce.

Providing housing support to community members is something the Tulalip Tribes have been hoping to do for a few years.

“This has been a dream of ours for a long time, so to finally break ground and know that in the near future we’ll be serving so many different people is exciting,” said Gobin.

“I know the board is committed to ending our housing crisis and this is the next step in that,” said Rochelle Lubbers, chief administrative officer with the Tulalip Tribes.

Beginning the Village of Hope project took a lot of work on its own.

“We definitely experienced challenges with this past year. It was in the middle of a global pandemic and the project was almost put on hold,” said Nelson. “It really made for an uncertain future."

Lubbers said the board will continue to look for creative ways to provide that housing going forward, as well.

“Housing is foundational to everything we need and do as humans and as tribal members,” she said. “It will provide a safe place for our children to rest their heads."

Tulalip Tribal board member Misty Napeahi said the community has to support each other to build up from past injustices.

“Intergenerational trauma is what all of us suffer from as tribal members, and the only way through that is through our community and with love and support for each other,” she said. “When people have homes we know they become constructive citizens of our community."

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