The Washington State Department of Commerce has allocated $6.2 million to build and manage tiny houses on Franz-Anderson Road, Olympia Housing Programs manager Darian Lightfoot reported to the city council last night.
Lightfoot said Gov. Jay Inslee identified several encampments throughout the I-5 corridor that need to be closed. Through the Commerce funding, Olympia will provide for campers settled in the public right of way.
According to Lightfoot, the city has identified Franz-Anderson as a location to create a 50-unit tiny home village to support people currently residing in the public rights of way, such as freeway on-ramps.
Early this year, Olympia purchased the Franz-Anderson Road property to temporarily provide a safe parking facility for unhoused individuals.
"In May, we [Regional Housing council] were approached by the Department of Commerce to discuss the encampments along the I-5 corridor," Lightfoot told the council members.
Lightfoot said Commerce is currently working on a memorandum of understanding with Lacey, Thurston County, and Olympia – to address the encampments and partner with local jurisdictions to help support the residents. The goal is to close the encampments by the end of the calendar year.
The housing manager said the parcel is about 6.2 acres, but the tiny home village will only operate on the east side of the property, using nearly an acre of the site. "The adjacent side of the land will remain and the future development project of affordable housing will be set aside."
The program budget from the Commerce includes:
"We are currently working with the [Olympia] public works. The site is being cleared and prepared so that we can keep with the Commerce deadline," Lightfoot said, adding the target date of occupancy is on December this year.
Starting next month and continuing through November, right-of-way improvements will start. These include leveling, tree removal, water/electrical extensions, creation of tiny homes, provider selection, and program development.
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