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Seattle Central Wood Technology students build houses for city’s homeless

A few fortunate homeless residents of Seattle will soon have a roof over their heads, thanks to students at Seattle Central College’s Wood Technology Center, who put their skills to work by designing and building two “tiny homes.” The houses, which are part of an effort to provide temporary housing for 30 of the city’s homeless, will be installed later this month in the Central District Nickelsville Tiny House Village.

“This has been a great opportunity for our students to get hands-on building experience while giving back to our community,” said Instructor Catie Chaplan. “Many of our students have experienced homelessness in one way or another. Some are currently or have been homeless in the past, while others have worked to combat the issue in the community. They were enthusiastic to contribute to this project.”

Students in the Carpentry program at the Wood Technology Center, which is also located in the Central District, constructed one of the homes for a class project. The second home was completed by students from all programs at the center, including Cabinetmaking and Architectural Woodworking and Marine Technology.

Students first produced two unique designs for the houses, with one student using skills learned in a building design software class to create two- and three-dimensional blueprints. Organizers plan to use these designs to build similar tiny houses in the future. Students then applied their skills in fabricating, roofing, framing and much more to build the insulated and electricity-ready homes over just a few weeks.

The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), a non-profit affordable housing developer that is leading a coalition of organizations to create this encampment, approached Seattle Central to build the houses over the summer.

“This this project is bigger than it seems,” said Melinda Nichols, Board President of LIHI and an alumna of the Seattle Central carpentry program. “It will help put a roof over the heads of folks who have not had that in a while. We’ve gotten a lot of support with this effort, and hope to replicate it in the future as one of many solutions to the serious issue of homelessness in our city.”

In mid-December, the houses will be moved to a site, located near 22nd Avenue and Union Street, provided by Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, located near 22nd Avenue and Union Street. Altogether, the encampment will include 15 structures that will house one or two individuals each.

MORE INFO: Contact Catie Chaplan at

MEDIA INQUIRIES: Contact David Sandler at or 206-934-5487


About Seattle Central College: 

Chosen by over 16,000 students each year, Seattle Central College offers a comprehensive range of educational programs and opportunities for academic transfer, workplace preparation, basic skills and continuing education in an urban environment. Visit us online at



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