Jim Severt, an architecture student at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) is working in coordination with TMCC Instructors, Kreg Mebust and Todd Copenhaver, to help generate plans for a tiny house community for the homeless youth in Reno, Nevada. While the project started off as Severt’s independent study class, Severt said that both instructors have pulled in their classes to help work on the project. “Now we have this conglomeration of people all working together,” he said.
According to Severt, the students are working on designs for single occupancy, temporary dwellings. “I’ve made contact with council members, we’ve contacted the mayor’s office,” said Severt, “Our goal is to come up with the idea for this dwelling, this pod, and May 4th we’re going to present it to city council members and other people in the area.”
Severt says the students have plans for about 100 dwellings, with eight by ten foot dimensions. “I could give them this idea for this pod, and if it’s inexpensive, they could mass produce it and just expedite the process,” said Severt. He suggests that the units are not big, but that they safe. “They’re just beds that are safe, secure, warm in the winter, cool in the summer,” Severt said, “We are at the end of our design phase, and now we’re going into our build phase. We’re going to build a model.”
Severt said the students are focusing on housing for homeless youth specifically. “The adult homeless population abuses the homeless youth population. It’s about a hundred percent abuse rate. Personally, I can’t accept that,” said Severt, “There’s another percentage, a very high percentage, where if you get to [the homeless youth] from 18-24, they’ll never be homeless again.”
Severt suggests that the potential future site could be an opportunity for the homeless youth to focus on their future goals, and he hopes to include features on the site that facilitate this. Severt imagines a wall where occupants can paint and a computer area where they can learn computer skills. Severt hopes that occupants are able to find what they are passionate about while living there. “Any human spark can take you and lead you through your life and career,” said Severt.
Severt hopes that more people will get involved in the project. To Severt, “If people want to get involved with [the project], they can email me.” Severt also hopes that more people become involved in helping the community in general. “I’m real big on community, and creating a community for the homeless youth to have a place to be and know that they’re safe,” said Severt.