By Laura LaVoie
Building a tiny house started out as a very personal journey for me. As time went on we were asked to help a small organization in South Africa build a shelter for kids. To be honest, volunteering with a non-profit organization had never been on my radar screen before but sometimes the right project comes along. A friend had moved to South Africa and was working with an organization there that helped orphans and other vulnerable children. Next thing we knew, we were making plans to travel to Durban South Africa to work with them to design a sustainable shelter using the skills we gained from building a tiny house. Fundraising has been continuing and eventually we will be able to go back and build it.
Tiny houses are a great fit for a lot of nonprofit organizations. They are small, portable, and can be inexpensive to build. They can also be built by volunteers who may not have experience in designing or building.
I am not the only tiny house builder who took my newfound skills and applied them to charitable causes. You may be familiar with Kendall of Nerd Girl Homes. She is a high school senior who is building a Tumbleweed Tiny House (the Lusby) to give to someone who needs a home or she will auction it off and donate the money to a charitable cause. So many tiny house builders build for themselves; it is amazing to hear about someone, especially in high school, building a tiny home for someone else.
Artist/Photo Credit Joni Beckner
There was also a Facebook post at my Think Big Build Small Community that read: “I am planning a build for multiple tiny homes that will be either rent to own or I will lend them to a nonprofit I volunteer for that helps transgender people in crisis, often who are verging on homelessness or trying to get off the street. The first one I plan to build will be “The Secret Garden Tiny House” and will be on loan to them for their house manager to have her own private space, and to open a bed up in their residential program. Plus she can use the extra bed in it for emergency housing. The second will most likely be the Stepping Stone house and will be temporarily located in my backyard and rented at low cost to people who are ready to move out of the residence but not wanting roommates. We will see.” I reached out to the poster but have not heard back. If you’re out there, I would love to hear more about your project.
When searching for “Tiny House Charity” one of the things I found most interesting is that a lot of tiny house builders and enthusiasts are dedicated to charitable causes. Sometimes it has nothing to do with their tiny house at all, but they use their voice as a tiny house builder to share their cause. Ours is a powerful platform based on personal and social change.
What tiny house related charitable causes are you familiar with? If you could use your tiny house skills, what would you do with them to help others?