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Northlake homeless village in Seattle won't close just yet

The city of Seattle and the Low Income Housing Institute is in talks with faith leaders to find a temporary sponsor for the homeless encampment.
Credit: KING
Tiny homes (generic)

Northlake Village, a tiny home community serving people experiencing homelessness, will not close next week as previously planned by the city of Seattle.

In October of this year, the Seattle Human Services Department announced the contract for the Northlake Village would not be renewed in 2020 due to performance and compliance concerns. 

The city has contracted with the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) to operate the village since March 2018, when it opened its new location on 4th Ave. NE in the Northlake neighborhood.

The village was previously known as Nickelsville Ballard and was the first city-permitted encampment. It operated from fall 2015 through February 2018 before moving to its current location.

City officials said LIHI hasn't been able to operate the village properly due to "ongoing interference in camp operations and client services from its former subcontractor, Nickelsville, which has prevented LIHI staff from effectively engaging residents of the village." 

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The Village had planned to start dismantling structures on Dec. 9.

But LIHI officials said Thursday the city is in talks with a local church to temporarily sponsor the Northlake Village through March 2020.

Seattle Human Services Department officials said while the conversations between the city, LIHI, Nickelsville activists, residents, and the faith leaders continue the residents can remain at the Northlake location. 

Since the original closure announcement, LIHI case managers have helped 11 of the 18 original households of the Northlake Village find permanent housing or move into other villages.

Nickelsville posted to its Facebook page Thursday acknowledging the delayed closure and saying in part, "but unfortunately [HSD] still blames the Nickelsville community for the failures of LIHI Case Management."

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant also posted a petition on Facebook this week directed to Mayor Jenny Durkan calling on her to stop the closure of the camp. 

It's unclear when a final decision will be made on where the tiny home village will end up.