UNI And Drake Build Tiny Houses For the Homeless

Sep 21, 2017

UNI Technology Lab Director Jay Alexandres,(left) UNI Senior Baily Abbott, (middle) and Tech professor Scott Greenhalgh stand in front of one of three tiny houses built on campus. They are being donated to a nonprofit organization for the homeless in Des Moines.
Credit IPR/Pat Blank

The nonprofit organization Joppa continues to receive tiny houses for its proposed community village for the homeless in Des Moines. Earlier this month, three of the shelters built by Drake University alumni, students and volunteers were donated. Three more are on their way to the capital city from the University of Northern Iowa.

UNI Senior Baily Abbott says he jumped at the chance to get hands-on experience helping build the houses.

"I know that as a technology and engineering education major I’m going to have to teach construction one day," he said. "So when my professor told me we want to build a tiny house,  I said 'sign me up'.” 

Technology Department professor Scott Greenhalgh says the 148 square foot structures, built a semester at a time, took about two years to complete.  Before arriving in Des Moines, the homes will be on display at a Tiny House Festival at the Jasper County Fairgrounds in Colfax.

Greenhalgh adds the next project is already underway.   UNI will partner with a group in Wisconsin who specializes in providing services for individuals who are developmentally challenged.