One of our most asked questions is how did Quixote Village get started? Well, let me tell you!
Camp Quixote Downtown, 2007
The Village started as a tent city back in 2007. The tent city was established in protest of the Pedestrian Interference Ordinance. This ordinance made it illegal to sit or lie on a sidewalk between 12am and 7am (when people usually sleep). Just as the police were threatening to break up the tent city, a local church graciously offered the residents sanctuary on their property.
Although tent city’s weren’t sanctioned, they were allowed to be on church properties. However – this was not a permanent solution. Per city regulation, each church could only host the tent city for three to six months at a time. So, as soon as residents got settled in they had to pack up and move to another church. The camps also had to have 24/7 “hosts”, or people to watch over. The hosts were 100% volunteers and we gained a lot of public support from them. Residents imagined a tiny home village where they were able to live communally as well as have their own privacy. Then came the birth of Panza. Panza worked with Camp Quixote’s Resident Council to build Quixote Village.
Camp Quixote at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation host site
It was years of residents and Panza working with an abundance of different local
authorities to raise the money needed for the Village. We received money from the Department of Commerce’s Housing Trust Fund, Community Development Block Grants from Thurston County and the City of Olympia, and funding from document recording fees. We also received grants from local communities at Nisqually, Chehalis Tribe, Boeing Employees’ Fund, and local donors. Thurston County leased us our land for $1 per year for 41 years. We worked with Community Frameworks as our developer and one of our own volunteers, Garner Miller, did the architecture.
Although we had public support, there were just as many people against us. We had to show them that all of their fears of crime, vandalism, and
lowered property values were merely false. Location also proved to be complicated because of NIMBY (Not In My BackYard). Many people did not want “our type of community” in their neighborhood. We were even taken to court for our present location. Another downfall was zoning – since there wasn’t really any permitting for tiny homes we had to work with local legislatures to create one. We had (and still have) many supporters who advocated for the Village.
Early stages of the village, 2013
Our residents were involved in every step of the way. They helped with the design, location, and even some of the construction. After many hours of labors of love, the Village was finally opened on December 24, 2013. Camp Quixote residents left their tents behind and started their journey of permanent housing. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the hard work of the board, residents, and community members. Housing is a right and we will continue to safely house people and provide a path to stability.