A class lecture on hunger and homelessness led to a service learning project that will benefit the community.
Daniel Tatarzyn, Lone Star College-Kingwood English professor, and his ENGL 0309 class utilized their discussion and passion to create The Tiny House Project, a service learning and civic engagement project. This housing will be transitional, so it can be utilized by many people for years to come.
“The goal of the project was to encourage students to create a tangible benefit for the community,” Tatarzyn said. “We have students on campus who are currently homeless. It is my hope that houses like this could provide shelter for them in the future.”
The Tiny Project construction started in October and was completed in January. The 70-75-square-foot home is equipped with basic living amenities such as a composting toilet, shower, kitchen area with cooking appliances, refrigerator, A/C and heat, and a futon-style bed/couch. It also includes basic household items that were donated.
The home will be managed by Family Promise of Lake Houston, a non-profit organization that works with homeless families. It will identify individuals in need of temporary housing, screen the applicants and provide support and resources. If identified, Lone Star College students will have first priority to live in the house.
“We are in the process of interviewing potential individuals to live in the house. Our goal is to find a homeless veteran who will temporarily live in the home while we help them find permanent housing through Veteran Affairs,” said Carole Brady, executive director of Family Promise Lake Houston. “With the cost of apartments today, it is hard to find a decent place to stay while people get back on their feet. We want to help individuals navigate through available resources to help them find permanent homes.”
Family Promise Lake Houston will offer a variety of resources, such as budgeting and life skills classes, that will help the person become stable so they can thrive in their new lives. There is no time limit on the temporary housing; individuals will be treated on a case-by-case basis.
In addition to Tatarzyn and his students, Harold Zimmerman, a local carpenter, volunteered hundreds of hours of his time and was instrumental in the completion of the project. Lone Star College Promise Scholarship students, faculty, staff, and community members who are experts in various trades also donated their time to assist with the construction project.
“This initiative was brought about by college students and their professor. They saw the need in the community that was not being met and decided to do something about it,” Brady said. “The students have shown great leadership in solving a problem in a very forward-thinking way. This asks the question, ‘if college students can solve a problem, why can’t the community come together and do the same thing?’ We (Family Promise) are very excited to be a part of this project.”
The Tiny House was donated to an area church. For more information on the eligibility house, contact Family Promise of Lake Houston at 281-441-3754 or visit http://www.fplh.org/.
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Lone Star College offers high-quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education to 98,000 students each semester. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., serves as chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area with an annual economic impact of $3.1 billion. LSC consists of six colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.