Former Bellingham 'tiny home' village board members under investigation

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Detectives in Bellingham are investigating former board members of a nonprofit that runs a tiny-home village in the city for possible misappropriation of funds.

According to a news release from the city, the former board members under investigation are no longer on the board that oversees the nonprofit.

The investigation began Sept. 27 when another board member told police that "specific representatives" of HomesNOW! have misappropriated funds. Police have not released any additional information about the complaint.

HomesNOW! operates the Unity Village homeless encampment in Fairhaven and has also managed two tent camps on city-owned property -- Winter Haven behind City Hall and Spring Haven in the WhatComm parking lot off Alabama Street.

“We are disappointed by this news as operations with HomesNOW! have proven to be successful at Winter Haven, Spring Haven and now Unity Village," Bellingham Police Chief David Doll said.  “We will ensure a thorough investigation is done and that those who are found responsible for criminal misconduct are held accountable."

The City of Bellingham is still engaged with HomesNOW! to ensure the safe operation of the encampments continues as it has for nearly the past year. Unity Village is permitted to operate at its current location through April 2020.

“I'm concerned about the safety of the people in the camp, and we take these allegations seriously," Mayor Kelli Linville said. “While no direct City funds are involved in the operation of HomesNOW! encampments, we have permitted the encampments and allowed them on City property. It is important to me that any individuals involved in misconduct are held accountable for their actions."