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Urban Corps of San Diego County builds their first 'Tiny Home'

The Urban Corpsmembers will attend Tiny Fest this weekend at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — If you're interested in a 'Tiny Home', the event known as Tiny Fest is coming to the Del Mar Fairgrounds this weekend. In this Zevely Zone, I met a new generation of tiny home builders. 

I went to the Escondido campus of Urban Corps of San Diego County to see is their newly built tiny house. At 170 square feet, their home may be small but it's doing big things. Last year Urban Corps members started with a trailer on wheels and built a tiny home from the ground up.

Ellen Stone paid for the entire project. She and her husband are going to put the tiny home in their backyard. "Knock, knock, hey guys," said Ellen as she showed us her new tiny home.  

Credit: Urban Corps of San Diego County

"How are you? Good to see you, Mussie?" said Ellen. "We have Anna, and Jazmin over here." The young adults who built the home are from Urban Corps of San Diego County. 

The organization provides paid job training and a chance to earn a high school diploma. Kyle Kennedy, the CEO of Urban Corps of San Diego County, wants to hire 60 more workers ages 18 to 26. "We are just trying to help them figure out what they want to do with their lives," said Kyle. "We are trying to expose them to different career opportunities."

Credit: Urban Corps of San Diego County

In this case, a career in construction with wages starting at $16 an hour. "You don't have any skills, you just pass a drug test and you're in," said Kyle. 

23-year-old Jazmin Castro now has a high school diploma. I asked her what she knew about construction before Urban Corps. "A little bit, only a little bit," said Jazmin. Now that she possesses construction skills, I asked Jazmin what is next for her. " Wherever I can go wherever is available for me," said Jazmin. 

Credit: Urban Corps of San Diego County

Mussie Gharoy was a refugee from Sudan who learned how to speak English at Urban Corps and much more. "I think I am going to continue in construction, get a license, become a general contractor or to a higher position," said Mussie while giving me a high five.  

When Ellen Stone got married, her friends and family members gave her money to buy a tiny home. She no longer needed that money. "Because we found a house, we are now making this for someone else," said Ellen. She and her husband paid $75,000 for the materials and labor to build this home for a student in need. "For someone, for someone looking to improve their life," said Ellen. "It's just our values, if I get what I need then it's only fair to pass it on. I'm so excited."

Credit: Urban Corps of San Diego County

Young adults in Urban Corps may have dropped out of high school due to involvement with gangs or drugs, becoming a young parent or an undiagnosed learning disability. Some are refugees with limited English or aged out of the foster system without a diploma. A growing number are homeless. On average 90 percent of graduates are either placed in jobs following commencement or are enrolled in higher education.

If you're interested in their Tiny Home, Corpsmembers will attend Tiny Fest – March 11 & 12 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. For more information on Tiny Fest click here.

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