MCC students learn trade while building tiny houses for homeless

Posted at 7:50 AM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 10:47:27-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Students of Metropolitan Community College are working hard this semester to build seven tiny houses that those escaping homelessness will soon call home.

Normally the Construction Education students work on one large capstone house, but these small structures provide a unique learning opportunity according to faculty member Josh Steele.

"Students get a lot more repetition with these," Steele said. "They’re doing a lot of the same tasks on different buildings. It really makes it great for being able to have multiple classes work on the same type of project.”

These tiny homes aren’t just a way for students to learn. They’re part of a bigger project to help people out of homelessness.

"The Cottages" is a tiny house neighborhood project being managed by Siena Francis House. The goal is to provide a foundation for those experiencing homelessness while they take steps toward stability.

“We’re seeing a lot of micro-housing, whether it's tiny homes or smaller apartments fill the housing needs in many cities across the nation," said Linda Twomey, CEO of Siena Francis House, after the project was approved by city council last March.

The school and non-profit made an agreement, that Siena Francis House would pay for the supplies, and the students would get the chance to learn while building them.

Steele said the students may be hesitant to work on the small house at first but get on board when they find out what they will be for.

"When we tell them what the project is for, there’s zero resistance," Steele said. "All of our students love being able to work on a project that’s going to be able to help the community.”

Bailey Clevenger, a student working on the houses, said her class is giving the project their best.

“We usually are building stuff and then taking it apart at the end of the quarter, but for these, we’re making sure that everything is perfect for them and everything is going to be great to move into," Clevenger said.

Steele says the students will be using the skills they’ve learned and their passion as they finish the project.

"They’re putting their best into it, and hopefully that translates to the people that will be living in these, just knowing the care and the pride that did go into them," Steele said.

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