Holly Ellingson's big-hearted Gateways High School students are at it again, once again designing tiny houses for the homeless.
This year's project got a significant head start thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Springfield Rotary. With Springfield Education Foundation providing supplemental funds and acting as the fiscal agent, Ellingson can breathe a sigh of relief that the fundraising portion of the work is secure.
“I’m very grateful for the Rotary’s help,” says Ellingson. “We have an incredible community.”
Last year, Ellingson asked her students to brainstorm ways they could help the community through a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project, and they agreed to tackle homelessness. Ellingson connected with Backyard Bungalows' Alex Daniell, one of the architects behind Eugene's Opportunity Village community of tiny homes, to help teach the class.
"In spite of our students at GHS being among the most needy in the district, their passion for helping people and their engagement in learning shines through when they were given the question of how would we can help the community improve using STEM," says Ellingson.
The home Holly's students designed last year, dubbed the "Hubble Hospitality House," was ultimately built and is now located at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Eugene as part of Hospitality Village, a village of four tiny houses for the homeless.
Students in Ellingson's STEM class are now hard at work on this year's design, which students decided would be a larger version suitable for a family, again with help from Daniell. Students worked in teams to create models, then voted on the design that would be built.
This year's tiny house will be housed at Catholic Community Services of Lane County (CCSLC) in Springfield, at 10th & G streets, as part of their existing G Street OASIS program for homeless families. OASIS is a partnership between a number of agencies, including the Willamalane Park and Recreation District, the school district’s Brattain House community hub and CCSLC. Together the partners provide a laundry service and kitchen/bathroom access, showers at the nearby pool, and clothing and other needs.
“It’s great that this home will end up in Springfield,” says Ellingson.
The full-scale version of the tiny house is well underway, with students and Rotarians working to make it happen.