Bates Carpentry program builds tiny home for homeless

Posted: March 22, 2017

The tiny home trend is not just for those who want to downsize their living space. These homes are also shelters for those experiencing homelessness. This year, Washington’s Workforce Board has put together a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Showcase of Skills Homeless Shelter Project competition to help build tiny homes for those in need, while providing a valuable learning opportunity for CTE students across the state.

Bates Technical College’s Carpentry program is one of 25 teams from high schools and colleges who built a portable, energy efficient homeless shelter for the showcase, which will be held on Monday, March 27 in Olympia at the Capitol Campus.

“Students spent eight weeks building our tiny home, which features four beds for a family or a single parent with children looking for work,” said Dan Smith, Carpentry program instructor. “Our Electrical Construction program installed wiring for a light and two outlets in case the occupants need to charge their phone or laptop, which would be useful for someone who needed to type up a resume,” he said.

The project was truly a group effort. “The students enrolled in the Architectural Woodworking and Cabinetmaking program hand-crafted a folding desk and a dresser so they can have storage space for clothes and a nice place for kids to do homework, if needed,” he said.

In addition to solar panels, the house features a three-foot-wide deck with a railing, a flower box, and a mailbox.

“The students had fun with this project! We purchased cushions, sheets and window treatments to make the home more inviting,” said Smith, who added that funding for the house came from the CTE event coordinators and the college’s Foundation.

“We’re honored to have been a part of this project,” said Smith. “Our main goal was to create a welcoming home that was warm and inviting, rather than a shed-like. We built a tiny home that was as open as possible, without being too confining. I am proud of our students who accomplished that,” he said.

The tiny homes will be transported to Seattle’s North 88th Street Tiny House Village for use as transitional housing for homeless people.

More information on the event is available at Follow the event on Facebook at