Nickelsville tiny house village received a notice to vacate property owned by a church within a month to make room for an affordable housing development, according to a resident of the village, making it another at-risk Nickelsville location.
This tiny house village is hosted by the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in central Seattle, where it was established four years ago, the resident, Kelly, said. While the prospect of new affordable housing on the site is welcome, the timing is not ideal, she said.
“Moving is not as hard as acquiring a new property,” Kelly said. The village needs at least 9,000 square feet of space to set up.
The tiny house village has had a year-to-year contract with the church, unlike city-sanctioned encampments, which have traditionally been able to stay in place at least two years before moving.
Fifteen people currently live in the village, and they would be displaced in the middle of winter if alternative arrangements cannot be found. At this point, the villagers are hoping for a few months’ extension to make this happen.
Hello new year, and goodbye fines
The Seattle Public Library forgave overdue fines at the turn of the new year and resolved not to charge any more under its new fine-free policy.
While the library system will no longer charge fines, it still wants its books back. If a book isn’t returned within 14 days after it’s due, the borrower’s account will be suspended until the item is returned or they pay a replacement fee.
If a loaned item isn’t returned within 31 days, the borrower will be charged to replace it.
At its heart, the new policy is an equity issue. The library’s research showed that people in low-opportunity neighborhoods were more likely to have unpaid fines on their accounts and have those accounts suspended because of fines, despite the fact that they had similar rates of return as other neighborhoods.
The move will bring more than 51,000 patrons with suspended accounts in from the cold and wipe the slate clean for others who had fines on the books.
“We are thrilled to celebrate this new chapter at The Seattle Public Library,” said Marcellus Turner, the citywide chief librarian. “We hope thousands of Seattle residents will rediscover their library this year without the fear of fines that has kept many people away.”
Seattle joins a number of other major cities that have implemented fine-free policies, including Chicago, San Francisco and Denver, among others.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC.
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