YV-Tech students building tiny homeless shelter for statewide competition


YAKIMA, Wash.--Students at YV-Tech are building a tiny homeless shelter as part of a statewide competition, but the shelter will serve as more than just on-the-job training for these students.

"Really motivates me to be helping kind of with the community," said junior Gideon Riddall.

The tiny homeless shelter YV-Tech students are building is not only for competition, but also for the local community.

They're one of over 20 teams from around the state that will display their tiny shelters in Olympia in late March, where they will be judged by industry leaders and seen by state legislators.

After the competition, the shelters will be used as transitional housing to help the homeless get back on their feet.

"The students are getting the training obviously by building the project and once they decide where this homeless camp is going to be located here in Yakima, this shelter will be available to be taken out there," said carpentry instructor Dan Garcia.

The 8-by-12-foot shelter started taking shape in early March.

It's designed to be put together and broken down quickly and focuses on energy efficiency.

"We're going to actually be solar-powering it so it'll be solar powered to control light and a heater. We're also using a hydro-thermo system to heat one of the walls," Riddall said.

Students take pride in the fact that what their learning will go a long way in impacting the lives of others.

"It's somewhere where they can keep a family if they have a family too because it's a homeless shelter for four so it feels pretty good to be helping out other people," said senior Adrian Bautista.

A small shelter that will have big impacts for everyone involved.

"It really does help the students in their confidence and their self-esteem and really prepares them for the next stage in their training," Garcia said.

But make no mistake, these students have their eyes on the prize.

"It definitely would be nice to win the competition," said Riddall.

"We're going to give it our best shot."

School leaders say more shelters could be made in the future depending on what plans city leaders have for the homeless community.

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