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Veteran Homelessness to Shrink with Help from USF Architecture Students

USF School of Architecture and Community Design student, Yesenia Vega, addresses the crowd at the Tiny Home Project groundbreaking ceremony held in St. Petersburg, FL.

It may be tiny, but plans to build a 470-square-foot home will change the life of a Tampa Bay veteran - a demographic plagued by homelessness. Students from the USF School of Architecture and Community Design competed to create plans for the micro-home, set to be built in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Their design is part of the “Tiny Homes for Homeless Veterans” project, organized by Celebrate Outreach, a partnership of faith-based congregations in Pinellas County. Students were required to meet with the city’s Building and Permitting Department along with community housing leaders to ensure their design meets legal standards.

Florida’s weather, property maintenance and utility costs were just a few of the factors considered during the design process, a process that USF research faculty member Josue Robles Caraballo said, gave students the opportunity to earn valuable industry experience.

“By getting out of the classroom and speaking with members of the community, students are able to learn so much more,” said Robles Caraballo. "This isn’t a make-believe project or problem, it’s a real-world situation that needs to be engaged and resolved.”

The one-bedroom home is slated to cost between $40,000 and $50,000 and will be turned over to a veteran identified by local social work organizations as an ideal candidate. Celebrate Outreach is in the process of planning tiny homes villages to help get even more veterans back on their feet.

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