Cyd & Skip Li moved in December 1992 from Mercer Island to their home on 16th Avenue NE, with hopes of spending more time with university students. After the move, they began praying for like-minded friends to join them by moving also to the U District.
In 1996, some close friends – Jack McMillan, Tom Jonez, and Morrie Pigott – approached Skip and Cyd about joining together to buy a house in the U District, where students could live in community and learn principles of leadership as taught by Jesus. That resulted in the group forming Vision 16 as a legal entity, and buying the house now known as the North House, right next door to the Li’s. During that first school year 1996-97, 12 young men lived in the house. They were a mix of UW students and recent graduates.
The first Vision 16 house generated such interest that a long waiting list developed of men who wanted to live there the next year. Some women also asked us if Vision 16 would be willing to open a women’s house. We started to look for another house, and were introduced to what is now the 17th Avenue House. Tom, Morrie & Skip all felt the house was much too large; Jack insisted it was perfect. His faith helped us all to take an enormous leap of faith and buy the house.
By the beginning of the 97-98 school year, the Ave House was filled with 47 men, and the North House had our first group of women. Wes and Nancy Anderson answered the call to move to the U District, and lived in the Ave House that inaugural year as “house parents.” The little room at the bottom of the stairs is known as the “Anderson Suite” in their honor. The Andersons bought a house themselves the next year on 16th and 52nd, and their upstairs became the “Annex” to the Ave House.
In 1999, Vision 16 bought what is now the South House, and had a group of graduate women living there during the 99-00 school year. The following year, some of those grad women rented what is now the 5031 house and moved there, while the South House was filled with undergraduate women. Don & Heather Valencia and Theresa Schulz joined the Vision 16 group when the South House was purchased, and shortly after Valencias moved into the U District themselves.
In spring of 2008, Vision 16 bought what is now the Tree House, next door to the South House. It was a run-down rooming house. George & Alyssa Petrie and Adam & Jaime Hestad joined the ownership group, and everyone worked hard over the summer to ready the house for occupancy by the first group of women when school started in the fall.