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Nickelsville Works

The website for Nickelsville is NickelsvilleWorks and it is very aptly named. This is a mini-exercise in participatory democracy. The Tiny Housing Village at 22nd and Union operates like other Nickelsville sites; they have a standard set of rules, but rules can be amended at the weekly meetings by a vote of the residents. Everyone shares in the work and everyone gives an hour a month to the greater community. In this area, that work consists of picking up litter at the construction site (where the gas station used to be) and the plastic bags that are immediately dropped on the ground by eager customers from Uncle Ike’s. One does not see litter on the Village site. There are recycling bins, a garbage dumpster and a food waste composter.

This Village consists of 14 tiny houses, each with their house number displayed. Various groups have contributed to the building of these houses, including tribal groups. Sawhorse Revolution was mentioned as the builder of the shower house and two of the houses, including one with a loft. (Sawhorse is a Seattle non-profit that works with high school students in central and south Seattle to build these tiny homes. They use recycled materials as much as possible. Photos of the houses at this site may be seen at

Currently there are 17 adults, 6 children and 5 pets living in this village. The shelter space in Seattle is usually limited to single persons of one sex: men at one shelter and women at another and no space for children or pets at any of the shelters. The children here attend school; one preschooler is in a pre-school program, the teenagers are able to get to Garfield High on Metro and the younger children are taken to school in a taxi.

Each resident has tasks, two shifts for a working person and three shifts for non-working persons. The longest shifts are those at the gate with one person working 7-4, another 4-11 and a third person has the night shift 11-7, but that person can be in their own tiny home (rather than the gate house) as they can be called if a resident returns after the gates are locked at 11pm.