Nine homes are helping to pull families out of homelessness.
LANGLEY, Wash. — The housing crisis in Western Washington continues to creep through communities in the area.
Even the small seaside town of Langley is struggling with rising rents and a falling number of vacant homes.
The city of just 1,100 people is now the Island County’s first tiny home, and it’s been life-changing.
A very elusive home for the Spencer family.
Nataly Spencer and her two children, aged 11 and 6, were in new little house just a week after staying in a homeless shelter because she couldn’t afford a place to live.
“It was definitely scary at first,” said Spencer, a Peruvian immigrant. “I’m not sure what will happen in the future and the events to come.”
Spencer works two jobs and still struggles to make ends meet.
Until now, single mothers still worry about the future of their children.
Finally, she has a place they can all call home.
“I was able to have stability, security, privacy. That’s what I was looking for and my kids loved it,” Spencer said.
Currently, Spencer pays 30% of his income for the 264-square-foot cottage.
This is one of nine newly opened homes in Langley, including the first small family community in Island County.
The houses were built within 5 years with THiNC’s contribution and volunteer labor — Little Houses In the Name of Christ.
Founder Coyla Shepard said: “We all see this as a dream come true.
According to the University of Washington’s Center for Real Estate Studies, an average one-bedroom apartment in Island County costs $1,243 per month. That’s a 5.7% increase from last year.
The county’s vacancy rate is just 1.3%.
Shepard believes young families are being valued more than suburban ones.
“They can’t afford a house, so they have to cut down on food and everything else just to get a place,” Shepard said. “There are too few houses here because most of them have been rented out in the past few years.”
The THiNC organizers are eager to share their cottage expertise with anyone interested in building their own community.
“We want this to spread everywhere,” Shepard said.
For Spencer and her kids, her tiny home is having a huge impact.
“I love it,” she said. “I’m so grateful for this place.”