EASLEY – A village was raised when hundreds of volunteers came together to help build 13 “tiny houses” to be used in conjunction with The Dream Center’s new homeless shelter program known as The Opportunity Village – the first homeless shelter to be located in Pickens County.
“This event represented one community full of diversity joining together for the good of those in need,” said executive director of The Dream Center Chris Wilson. “In addition to building the tiny houses for The Opportunity Village, volunteers also assembled Christmas stockings for the Santa Shoppe program, worked on building maintenance, cleaning (and) painting.”
Wilson said that although the concept of tiny houses is trendy, it was also a practical, cost efficient and flexible way to provide basic sleeping quarters for individuals and families.
“It allows us to make the biggest impact on need with donor dollars,” said Wilson. “(We) believe that the shelter concept is secondary to the importance of the program that residents will be required to participate in while in the program.”
Education, employment and personal growth programs are mandatory for residents while they are in the temporary shelter of the tiny house units.
“The Dream Center believes that just sheltering the homeless is an expensive way to achieve zero life change,” said Wilson. “The key to helping the homeless restore their lives and become productive members of the community is found in the program that The Dream Center has been operating for the past three years with measurable success.”
The Palmetto High School football team, Dorman High School baseball team, students from Easley High School and Wren High School all participated in the building of the homes on Oct. 22.
Students from the Pickens County Career and Technology Center gained hands on experience in the weeks prior by pre-building the walls and floor systems and by coming out to the site and laying brick foundations.
When finished, The Opportunity Village will consist of 23 tiny house units as wells as 10 transitional houses. So far, 15 houses have been constructed and currently being finished.
The program is expected to up and running by the end of the year.
“As a faith-based organization, The Dream Center hopes that people will not look at what is happening and say how great the organization is,” said Wilson. “Our hope is that they see what is happening and say how great our God is.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.