It has been reported that 75% of all low-income families are cost-burdened, paying more than half their income in rent.
South Whidbey Island is no different. The cost of available rental properties increased 30% in 2017. The tightening rental market results in local merchants challenged to find employees that can afford the escalating rents.
South Whidbey residents Coyla Shepard and Maralie Johnson had a dream to address the rental housing shortage by creating a tiny house community that will offer affordable housing to the workforce of South Whidbey Island, Washington. In the fall of 2018, their idea, Tiny Houses in the Name of Christ (THINC), became a non-profit 501c3. The organization purchased the distressed property at 722 Camano Ave in Langley and their dream began its journey to reality.
With help from individuals, businesses, organizations, churches, and more than 60 volunteers, the existing house on the half-acre property was completely remodeled. The upper level now serves as low-income housing for a family of five. The lower level will serve as communal space for the tiny house community. The remaining two-thirds of the lot will feature 10 tiny houses, walking paths, outdoor recreational areas, vegetable gardens, and ornamental gardens in a park-like setting.
The property is well situated. The South Whidbey Community Center is across the street and features art and dance classes, theater, and a playground, as well as the Whidbey Island Fairgrounds. The property is within walking distance of downtown Langley, the Village by the Sea, and its restaurants, cafes, theater, library, marina, and retail and service businesses.
The 25,200-square foot lot will include the communal house, 10 tiny houses, walking paths, outdoor recreation areas, and a vegetable garden in a park-like setting. The on-site and nearby trees create a natural environment to soothe and refresh.
Each 264 square-foot tiny home can accommodate one to two adults (and one to two children) and includes a living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. The estimated building cost is $18,000. per unit. Businesses and organizations sponsor the building of each home.
The residents will be part of their own THINC Whidbey neighborhood, as well as part of the greater South Whidbey community. The location is within walking distance of restaurants, cafes, theaters, library, marina, the Whidbey Island Fairgrounds, and retail and service businesses.
We are dedicated to improving the lives of those in our community. Your contribution today helps us make a difference.
Spearheaded by members of local congregations, our organization is named Tiny Houses in the Name of Christ (abbreviated THINC). THINC (thincwhidbey.com) is a 501c3 nonprofit, established to build attractive and safe rental housing within a community environment.
Tiny Homes are small dwelling units that are less expensive to build and maintain, are more environmentally friendly as they support more efficient use of infrastructure and have a smaller carbon footprint then a traditional single-family dwelling. Tiny homes in a multi-unit development will create new housing opportunities for Langley’s work force and others seeking a smaller and more affordable housing choice. The building code is modeled on the existing Langley Cottage Code (Ch. 18.22.180).
TINY HOUSE COMMUNITY PLAN:
-Build 10 tiny houses around the resident meeting house at 722 Camano Avenue, including common, landscaped grounds with access from Edgecliff Drive and the alley right-of-way
-Home sizes will be 264 square feet, accommodating 1-2 adults or, with bunk bed arrangement, additionally 1-2 children
-Homes will be built on a permanent foundation and will include a combined kitchen/living area, sleeping area and bathroom with shower as per Langley’s Tiny Homes building codes
-Rent will be used to pay taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities and road and parking upkeep
PURPOSE and MISSION:
Our purpose is to unite our South Whidbey neighbors to create a community of tiny houses for those in need of affordable housing by building a sense of belonging and pride among residents through community meetings and shared work responsibilities. Our mission is to fulfill the great commission of loving our neighbors by providing for those in need of affordable housing.
Donations have paid for the land and improvements to the existing house. Individuals, businesses, organizations and churches will be invited to donate a house, and can be named after the donor. We currently have commitments for 7 houses for our community. The International House of Cedar has offered one house for the cost of materials only. Hanson’s Building Supply has graciously offered to provide us with all materials at their cost.
CONTACT INFORMATION: Coyla Shepard at 360-969-9444 (THINC Founder)
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