About Lisa E. Papp

Lisa is a long-time resident of Washington state and Whatcom County. She is a solar energy advisor helping homeowners in Washington and other U.S. states add solar power to their building. She was a member of the Barkley Toastmasters club and served as Club President, V.P. Membership, Past President, and Treasurer. She has been an entrepreneur for many years offering marketing consulting, graphic design, and social media management services. She has volunteered for a variety of causes and believes in giving back. In the past, she has worked for non-profits including the American Institute of Architects Seattle Chapter, Northwest Community Housing Foundation which completed the first Co-housing project in the U.S. in Winslow, and for-profits including Nordstrom. She is not an expert on homelessness but a concerned citizen who would like to do more to help.

By: Lisa E. Papp (8)

Unity Village Will Have a New Site. Thank you, Mayor Fleetwood and Director Sepler!

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• Topics: Bellingham,

There is good news to report for the future of Homes NOW’s Unity Village since I last wrote here January 16, 2020! The temporary tiny home community for homeless people, currently in Fairhaven, will have a new location this spring.

Homes NOW Board Chairman Douglas Gustafson shared details of the positive outcome with me after a recent weekly meeting when he and Homes NOW Vice-Chair Markis Stidham met with City of Bellingham (COB) Planning Director Rick Sepler and Police Chief David Doll. Director Sepler indicated to Gustafson and Stidham that, at the direction of Mayor Seth Fleetwood, he would be working to find a COB-owned site for Homes NOW. Sepler also indicated that the next site would allow the tiny home community to stay put for the two year maximum allowed by the tiny home ordinance (see my previous article for that document). The six month permit for the city-owned site at 210 McKenzie Ave. expires April 30, 2020. While that permit cannot be extended (for technical, legal, or other reasons I do not really understand), the COB has granted the organization an extra two or three weeks beyond April 30th to help in the transition to the new site. The new location has yet to be announced but will be available for occupancy by May 1st. The additional two to three weeks at the current site will allow more time for the labor-intensive and logistically complex move of 20 tiny homes, dining and kitchen tent, cooking area, porta potties, shower truck, shipping container-sized storage units, fencing, other infrastructure, the residents, and their belongings.

This move will be costly and will require the help of many volunteers and vehicles to assist with the physical packing and moving. The organization has increased their fundraising efforts in preparation. To donate or sign up to volunteer, please visit HomesNow.org or their Facebook page for volunteers.

Gustafson says, “I thank Mayor Fleetwood for stepping up to help with allowing us to continue our emergency housing program. Thank you Director Sepler and Chief Doll for continuing to work with Homes NOW in partnership. We hope the City will continue to work with Homes NOW in the foreseeable future in order to help house our homeless neighbors.”

I echo Gustafson’s sentiments. Thank you very much, Mayor Fleetwood, Director Sepler, and Chief Doll! Even though the move will be challenging and a bit disruptive, I know the residents and Homes NOW Board and volunteers are very relieved and grateful to have the ongoing support of the city and many people in our community.

About Lisa E. Papp

Posting Citizen Journalist • Member since Jan 22, 2018

Lisa is a long-time resident of Washington state and Whatcom County. She is a solar energy advisor helping homeowners in Washington and other U.S. states add solar power to [...]

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Unity Village Will Have a New Site. Thank you, Mayor Fleetwood and Director Sepler!

By Lisa E. PappOn Jan 28, 2020

There is good news to report for the future of Homes NOW’s Unity Village since I last wrote here January 16, 2020! The temporary tiny home community for homeless people, currently [...]

Unity Village Needs a Permit Extension. Please, Mayor Fleetwood, Can You Help?

By Lisa E. PappOn Jan 16, 2020

Since my December 30th, 2019 article about Homes NOW’s Unity Village petition for a permit extension, there have been a variety of developments in the process and communication between the [...]

Unity Village Tiny Home Community Requests Permit Extension

By Lisa E. PappOn Dec 30, 2019

The search for a permanent location for Unity Village, Bellingham’s first tiny home community for our homeless neighbors, is ongoing. Leased or owned land, a minimum of 1/4 acre (1/2 acre [...]

HomesNOW Thrives Despite Setback

By Lisa E. PappOn Nov 25, 2019

I never imagined I would be writing the following type of article, period. I never imagined I’d be writing this article as a result of actions by James Lee ([...]

8 comments, most recent 10 months ago

Unity Village Tiny Home Community Proposed for Fairhaven

By Lisa E. PappOn Jun 11, 2019

Bellingham non-profit HomesNOW is in the midst of the permit review process for a temporary tiny home encampment in Fairhaven. The City of Bellingham published a notice of application for [...]

6 comments, most recent 1 year ago

Winter Haven Tent Community Opens in Bellingham

By Lisa E. PappOn Jan 14, 2019

Would you sleep outside in a tent during the winter? I certainly couldn’t. Fortunately, we are having a relatively mild winter in the Pacific Northwest this year. But, even [...]

16 comments, most recent 1 year ago

Jim Peterson … from Homeless to Advocate for the Homeless

By Lisa E. PappOn Apr 14, 2018

What do you feel when you walk by a homeless person sitting or lying on the sidewalk or in a park? Do you feel disgusted or angry? Do you think …”[...]

4 comments, most recent 2 years ago

Who Are The Homeless?

By Lisa E. PappOn Jan 22, 2018

Homelessness is a complex and challenging issue in our country. Of course, if you are homeless you are directly experiencing the difficulties of homelessness. But homelessness is also a challenge [...]

4 comments, most recent 2 years ago