The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) will present a Housing Hero Award to Reverend Lawrence Willis at its annual gala and auction on November 3 at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Seattle.
Rev. Willis has had a lifelong calling to serve. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Christian Education at United Theological Seminary. He entered the clergy in 1999 and has been Pastor of Truvine Church since 2001. He started the transitional program LOVETO that helps low-income people of color. He conducts counseling, is the president of the United Black Christian Clergy, and serves on the Women and Minority Business Council in Seattle.
Rev. Willis worked in construction as a journeyman carpenter for 10 years before becoming the director of Seattle Vocational Institute’s Pre-apprenticeship Construction Training Program, where his passion for both education and helping those in need converged. Through his efforts, SVI students, as part of their curriculum, have applied their learned skills for the greater good to build over a dozen tiny houses for Seattle’s homelesspopulation. Video of tiny house build at SVI
“Over 50 homeless men and women have died living on the streets since January. Living in a heated tiny house with a lockable door can make the difference between life or death for someone who is vulnerable or frail. Rev. Lawrence Willis is a Housing Hero because he and his students at SVI have built tiny houses to help end homelessness for hundreds of people,” states Sharon Lee, LIHI Executive Director. Rev. Willis also serves on the LIHI Board of Directors.
Also to be honored are State Senator David Frockt, Terri Colbert, and Guy Astley, who have all made major contributions to LIHI’s growing Tiny House Program, helping to realize innovative solutions to homelessness in Seattle and beyond.
LIHI sponsors 7 tiny house villages across Seattle that are sheltering homeless families, singles, couples and people with pets that have nowhere else to live. At any one time, over 350 people are living in tiny houses that are 8’ x 12’ or in tents on platforms. Most of the tiny houses are insulated and have heat and electricity. They share common space and a community kitchen. LIHI hires case managers and social workers to help them move to permanent housing and to obtain employment.
LIHI partners with Nickelsville, SHARE and Camp Second Chance to operate the villages on a day to day basis with self-governance and democratic decision-making. The locations include: Othello Tiny House Village, NW Market Street in Ballard, a new Interbay Village on Port property, Licton Springs Village, Georgetown Village, and Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd Tiny House Village in the Central Area. For more information go to: www.LIHI.org