OKLAHOMA CITY – Nonprofit Pivot is preparing for a huge project.
They’re building an entire neighborhood of tiny homes that will soon house youth experiencing homelessness or hard times.
“Part of what we do is open the whole world to them that they maybe didn’t know was available to them and help them access those things and then help them with their skills that may keep them from being able to be successful adults,” Kami Kuykendall, CEO & president of Pivot said.
Some of the youth have aged out of foster care, may have been involved in child welfare or the juvenile justice system and need a place to transition.
“It’s great because it’s on our campus so they have a safety net if you will, of services and supports and resources that they didn’t have living out on their own,” Kuykendall said.
The first three tiny homes will be available in the spring thanks to a $100,000 grant from Impact Oklahoma, a community of women devoted to funding charitable causes in central Oklahoma.
The ultimate goal is to build more than 80 homes on the campus.
And this village took a lot of volunteer effort including tiny home consultant Michelle Wunder.
“To be able to go from being homeless to their own space which is uniquely theirs to be able to make into their own place. It’s something a lot of these kids have never had,” Michelle Wunder said.
Kami Kuykendall says housing needs for these at-risk teens is increasing. They say 16 percent of homeless Oklahomans are 17 years old or younger.
“We have clients who have ended up sleeping on park benches or under overpasses or in tents out on their own, or in a car or maybe living on your couch one night or my couch one night.”
Many of them unable to find housing or have little education to live on their own.
“Wonderful work is going on, life changing work, not just us, but our network of partners that we work with. The thing that’s missing is brick and mortar, so this helps fill a need that we’ve been searching for,” Kuykendall said.
“We will be able to end youth homelessness with support like this and other agencies that provide those services and have other kinds of housing.”
The rent will be 10% of a resident’s income.
Teens around the community will also help build the homes as an opportunity to learn a trade.