Many Americans already know that there is a homeless problem that’s continuously growing throughout the country. To some individuals, this doesn’t phase them in their everyday life that they live. To others, this problem needs a solution and fast. These Kingwood high school students, however, are making homes to help the homeless in Houston, Texas. Thanks to these students’ hard work, the homeless veteran community can look forward to owning tiny homes in the future.
Why Highschool Students?
The plan for this tiny home to help the homeless is to be donated to a veteran. It will then be moved to the Langetree Retreat and Ecocenter in Liberty County. As part of Humble ISD’s program “Students Helping Veterans: Big Heroes, Tiny Homes.” This is a student-led initiative with the purpose of teaching students teamwork, architecture, and construction skills. (1, 2)
“It started as a vision for the students to be able to get some real-world experience building and doing construction stuff in our architecture classes while also being able to give back to veterans in need.” Says graduate Brendan Flaherty. (2)
Architecture and engineering students took two years to finish a home to help the homeless. The project wasn’t just to challenge their skills but to give back to the community as well. On their second unveiling, high school students at Kingwood proudly present the finished constructed tiny home. The tiny home consists of about 209 square feet and has everything for a singular person to live happily. This includes a kitchen, a bed, chairs, and cabinet space. Even though the home seems tiny on the outside, there is more than enough space on the inside. (1)
Senior Parker Ryan says, “Being able to pick up a veteran off the street and give him a home to live in and grow is just amazing to me. We hope to make these for years to come.”
The Future Of Homes To Help The Homeless
This isn’t the first time these students have built homes to help the homeless. In fact, the first tiny home they built was given to U.S. Marine Corps veteran Edward Rodriguez. This tiny home has been lifechanging for Rodriguez, explaining his gratitude towards the altruistic high school students.
“It totally upended my life. I lost my house, my job and found myself in need. I’d always been independent, a marine, the hero, do things by myself, and then I found myself humbled, so to speak.” Rodriguez states. (1)
Students were able to afford the materials to build this home to help the homeless from donations. The first tiny home they created cost around $10,000 more since it was custom built. Luckily, the students had an initial cost of $40,000, which was provided through donations. The Kingwood high school students have had donors for each tiny home project. Without these donations, these tiny homes meant to help the homeless wouldn’t be possible. (2)
As the Kingwood students graduate, they want the program to remain for future architecture and engineering students. Claiming that some days are definitely better than others. Depending on if it’s raining, building a home to help the homeless can prove to be challenging. However, at the end when they are able to give the home to somebody that deserves it makes the whole endeavor worth while.
“At the end of the day we are just kids. Trying to give back.” States Kingwood student CJ Schoettlin. (1)
Who’s Their Teacher?
Missi Taylor is a well-traveled architect that has been happily guiding her students through the construction process. Spending 15 years of her life in architecture, Taylor wishes to bestow her knowledge to her students. She has worked everywhere from the headquarters for Chevron-Phillips to her mother’s lake house. The Kingwood high school students are very fortunate to have such an experienced teacher. Despite what she has taught her students so far, she says they still have much to learn. Especially when it comes to working with the harsh outdoor elements. (2)
“I actually came from the architectural industry and so for me when I’m teaching them, I’m teaching them how to be professional because in the real world I know what the expectation is of an employee and a manager because I was a manager… They all come to me at different levels, and the ones that end up staying with us through the third and fourth year and are actually building the house they’re hard workers and go-getters.” Taylor explains how she feels about teaching construction to her students. (2)
Why Tiny Homes To Help The Homeless Are Important
As the pandemic increases the amount of people unemployed, the country is desperately seeking solutions. Especially as winter rapidly approaches, there are concerns for the future cold months as well as the homeless. You can expect to see stories a lot like these high school students. Even in Toronto, Canada, there’s a man building tiny mobile homes for the homeless community.
If we are to win in this fight against the pandemic, coming together might be all that we have. Donate your canned foods, dried foods, water, clothes, etc. Even if it means donating a small amount of money, every little thing helps. We must all play our part in helping those in need. If you wish to help the Kingwood students build another home to help the homeless, you can donate here on their website.