Peek your head around the corner of Woodland’s parking lot, and you’ll see an encouraging sight: groups of volunteers putting together three new tiny homes. (For background on what these tiny homes are all about, click here.)
Some of the volunteers bring years of experience with them. Others have little to no experience. Some return again and again, others help for just a day. But what makes a good volunteer isn’t necessarily their skill level or how many days they have available, but their willingness to pitch in wherever it’s needed. “Helper” tasks like holding things, finding tools, and bringing water have been greatly appreciated, and make the measuring, hammering and cutting go more smoothly.
Brandon Overholt, who oversees the build, grew up around construction through his dad and uncles, and started learning the trade around age 15. Using his years of experience, Brandon has often volunteered his skills for various humanitarian projects. So, when work began last summer on the first tiny home, nicknamed “Lil Peach,” Brandon was there every work day. Since then he has continued to serve as lead builder.
Brandon says about Settled, “It’s easy to critique any organization’s take on how to combat homelessness or social ills. It’s easy to sit back and only have ideas. Settled is willing to do something and to entertain new ideas and apply them. Settled also spends their money very economically and is the least wasteful organization I’ve worked with. It’s nice to be part of work as great as this.”
Each of these three homes is a little different, with its own variations and unique design. One consistent element of these homes is that the builders have been using repurposed “riot wood” in the construction. It was reclaimed after the social unrest in the Twin Cities following George Floyd’s killing.
Brandon sees that as something special. He says, “I love the concept of redemption, it’s one of the primary things we glean out of the Bible. To take things used to shield residents and businesses and turn them into a shelter for someone experiencing chronic homelessness is very satisfying.”
Last week, members and pastors of the five churches involved in this project gathered together for a “Blessing the Build” event to dedicate the homes and write blessings and prayers on the wood of the homes.
Pastor Greg Boyd said of the event, “It really feels like there is an anointing on this. It’s the Church’s job to care for the poor, and there was beauty in seeing five different churches working and cooperating together. My takeaway from the evening is that this is a mustard seed movement that is going to grow.”
So what happens next? Once these tiny homes are complete, they’ll be ready to donate for the creation of the first “Sacred Settlement” of tiny homes in the Twin Cities. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered and made financial contributions to help keep this vision moving forward!
Want to learn more? Check out Settled’s website here.