‘Really, do we want a village anywhere?’ Burien approves pallet village

Nov 28, 2023, 10:30 AM | Updated: Nov 29, 2023, 3:12 am

Burien camping...

"Campers" in Burien will soon have a tiny home village as an option. (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

It was a head-scratcher from the beginning, but finally, the Burien City Council voted for a pallet village for the homeless and accepted $1 million from the King County Regional Homelessness Authority.

“For some reason, Dr. Seuss popped into my head. Do we want a village here? Do we want a village there? Really, do we want a village anywhere?” Annie Phillips of Burien People for Climate Action said to the City Council.

As it turns out, they did. The measure was approved 4-3 Monday night.

“I move to establish temporary emergency housing, at the Seattle City Light Property (on S. 136th St.) and to direct the City Manager to inform the King County Regional Homelessness Authority of the services to be required, which include at a minimum; security and a community liaison,” Councilmember Cydney Moore said. “In addition, pallet shelter occupants and visitors must abide by a code of conduct to include at a minimum; NO illegal drug use, alcohol use, or possession of firearms on-site, or in the surrounding neighborhood, and no registered sex offenders permitted.”

Moore called this a compromise, and one she was happy the council could live with.

Homelessness has been a major issue in Burien for months. During Monday’s special meeting, community members, including those experiencing homelessness, were happy to see the council take this step.

“It’s a good start to help a lot of people to get them on the right track because that is just what we need. That place to live. A roof over our head,” one woman told City Council.

Prior to Monday’s special meeting, KIRO 7 TV spoke with Jon Grant with the Low Income Housing Institute, an organization that manages tiny home villages across western Washington. Grant, who has spoken to the city council on several occasions, believes places like tiny home or pallet villages can be productive if managed properly.

“It’s structured. It’s not chaotic. It has the support services. So, the more that people can kind of understand the difference between these two things, I think it would really help the conversation,” Grant said.

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‘Really, do we want a village anywhere?’ Burien approves pallet village