Summer Project Addresses Housing for Homeless

Building a tiny home is a summer project coordinated by Maple Valley resident, Mark Friesen. He invites the community to join in the effort to house the homeless. Photo by D’Ann Tedford

A 9×12 square foot “home” has suitable space for a bed and storage. The cost to build one is $2500. That is the tiny plan with big expectations created by Mark Friesen, a newcomer to Maple Valley. His vision is underway as documented in a written plan with graphics, photos and instructions that depict-and-offer one small solution to the housing needs of homeless people in the Puget Sound area. It’s called a ‘Tiny Home’.

Friesen is a member of Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) that was founded in 1991. It provides over 2,000 tiny houses today as well as a full caseload of other supportive services. LIHI partners with cities, businesses, non-profits, churches and schools to address the homeless epidemic. Friesen is now giving Maple Valley the opportunity to share faith in action – impacting other lives.

Humanity is outlined in his 10-page brochure titled “Housing for the Homeless – A Summer Project.” The life expectancy of those who are homeless is 47 years of age for males and 43 for females – 30 years younger than people who live in homes.

Friesen’s Housing for the Homeless project will get underway in the parking lot of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, SE 216thStreet. For those who like Do It Yourself projects, building a tiny home is a no-brainer, according to the project facilitator. Plans for the 9×12 square foot home are approved and easy to follow, he said. Construction, framing, and finish work is an estimated two-day endeavor if five to ten people are involved.

The beginning preparations, which are now underway, could take two weeks to a month – end of July. Those preparations include acquiring building materials, a site and dates for communal work schedule, assembling necessary tools and hardware, planning for and creating on-site storage. Those who have questions and/or could take leadership roles in any of the areas mentioned are encouraged to contact Friesen by email

Construction framing and finish work is estimated at two days if a minimum of five to ten workers (ages middle school and up) are available. LIHI picks up the Tiny Home for delivery to Seattle when it is complete. Delivery date is expected to be late August or early September.

Creating a tiny home starts, of course, with funding – raising the $2500. Friesen gives several suggestions in his brochure. The choices include a one-time or multi-month pledge; fundraising activities, children’s events, auction; partnership with local businesses; matching grants from corporate employers; assign a stewardship leader. It was pointed out, “20 people donate $125 = $2500”. Donations have already begun. Checks should be addressed to Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church with the memo “Housing for the Homeless.”

Friesen and his wife, Angela, with their toddler, Ellie, moved into a Four Corners neighborhood a year and a half ago. Their love of the area and of their church family is obvious. The big heart of this Maple Valley resident reaches out to engage the community with the church philosophy, God’s Work. Our Hands. Together.