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Oakland college program shows how to build your own tiny house

In Carpentry 221, Laney College students build a tiny house in two semesters. The Digital Fabrication class first designs and CNC cus as much as possible. Then the 20 to 30 students in Matthew Wolpe’s “Advanced Elements of Construction” begin to build from the trailer up.

Once completed, the tiny homes are used as housing for housing-insecure Laney College students who, thanks to a grant from the City of Oakland, are able to live in them for free. Wolpe sees this city-college Tiny House Partnership as one of the solutions for what he sees as a housing emergency. A recent study found that 19% of California community college are homeless.

The builds are also an opportunity for students, many of whom plan to build their own tiny homes, to gain hands-on experience building one of two models. Costing about $30,000 in materials, Model S is built on a 16-foot trailer and houses a bed, desk, closet, full bathroom and kitchen. Model M sits on a 12-foot-trailer; costing $20,000, it includes a desk, bed and closet. Their award-winning Wedge house (2016) included roof-mounted solar panels, 2 sleeping lofts, fly ash composite siding and custom built furniture.