Tiny House Big Impact Program: Constance's Bus

The Program

Together with organizations like Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP) and Tent Makers, we launched the Tiny House Big Impact program to build beautiful, sustainable, and affordable tiny homes for homeless families, while also training others within the unhoused community to build tiny houses themselves. Not only has this program provided immediate housing solutions for families that need help now, but it has also continued to positively impact the community as we have helped train dozens of unhoused individuals in tiny house construction.

Who is Constance?

The first impression meeting Constance, Miracle, and David, is that they are one of the most loving, charismatic, and laughter-filled families imaginable. No one would ever guess they have been homeless, living in and out of shelters for two years. Constance and her children, David and Miracle, looking forward to turning their bus into a home.

After a back injury prevented Constance from working as a bus driver, she could no longer afford the rising Bay Area housing prices, and her family was forced to sleep in cars and shelters. They have been living at a transitional homeless shelter for six months, but are already at the end of their permitted time period and desperately need housing. 

Fortunately, Constance owns a bus from her days as a bus driver, and was adamant about transforming it into her dream home. Constance found THIMBY by working tirelessly with the homeless transition Program GRIP, and we were able to help led construction on Constance’s tiny house, employ experienced professionals within the unhoused community, and trained others in developing skills in construction and renewable energy fields.

The Process

The responsibilities of the Tiny House Big Impact program were shared among three groups: THIMBY, GRIP, and TentMakers. THIMBY was responsible for the design, marketing, and coordination of the project, while GRIP and TentMakers organized the homeless builder training program and placement of the house.

During this project, we trained and taught several homeless individuals skills they can use to help house themselves and others for the rest of their lives. In exchange for their efforts in building this project, these volunteers will be the recipients of the next tiny house project we build. Professional tiny house builder, William Burdock, ran the construction and carpentry training workshops on a build site allocated by UC Berkeley.

We finished Constance’s Bus at the end of 2019.



Want more?

Take a look at our GoFundMe for more tiny house fun, and check out our Alumni page to read about the wonderful people who did this project!

SHAC is an interdisciplinary group of undergraduate and graduate students at UC Berkeley with a shared passion for sustainability in the built environment.

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