CSD Students Build Tiny Homes for the Homeless

Canyons Technical Education Center students this semester are learning more in their construction class than how to build a home. They’re giving back to their community and learning it’s possible to have an impact on issues of local importance.

CTEC is a career-oriented training ground that gives Canyons District’s high schoolers experience in high-demand fields, ranging from nursing and engineering to criminal justice, and construction. “I’ve been in trades my whole career,” says Nathan Hampton who teaches construction at CTEC and is overseeing a new project which, once finished, will help members of the homeless population in the Salt Lake Valley.

His students are building a tiny home, which will become part of The Other Side Village (TOSV), an affordable housing development designed for people struggling with homelessness.

“I’m really excited about the project they’re doing,” Hampton says, “It gives these students the experience of creating something for someone who is struggling,” he says.

CTEC students will work throughout the semester, building a tiny home from the ground up.

“It’s probably one of my favorite things I’ve done in school in the past few years,” says Bright High School senior, Maddox Gamonal. “It’s so hands on. I’ve never been good at learning from watching slideshows and things, so it’s been really fun to come out and put together a house. Plus, it’s going to help out the homeless community.”

Gamonal and his fellow students will progress as far as they can in the project, from framing, to electrical and plumbing, even drywall.

“I really enjoy working as a team,” says Gamonal. “This will definitely teach me some skills. After graduation I may do construction, but this is a very good entry into other trades as well.”

Once the semester is over, TOSV teams will load the tiny home onto a trailer and move it into the village where TOSV community members will finish any remaining work. Hampton says once the home has been placed, he’ll let his students know so they can drive by and see their finished project.

“In a lot of ways, we’re planting seeds with this,” says Hampton, “Hopefully some of them will realize what an important thing they’ve done.”

Hampton says he enjoys seeing his students recognize their own talents and successes on past affordable housing projects for Sandy City and now on this latest project. “I had one student even start his own business the summer after he graduated,” he says, “It’s just very practical and cool to see how they get into this real-world experience through their work. It’s so important for the kids to have those opportunities.”

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