The Halton District School Board, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity
, are helping build tiny homes for the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.
Georgetown District High School, M.M. Robinson High School, Garth Webb Secondary School and Milton District High School are among the HDSB schools participating in this partnership, building five homes for the Indigenous community located on the Saugeen Peninsula.
Chief Veronica Smith, officials from Habitat for Humanity and other guests and representatives joined HDSB officials at Georgetown District H.S. on April 8 to talk about the project and tour a tiny home under construction. This initiative will see fully-serviced homes, around 230-square-feet in size, built and delivered to the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation starting as early as Fall 2022.
Proud to be a part of this partnership, Smith says these homes will help fulfill several needs including addressing a housing shortage in the community.
“This is an awesome project because not only does it meet a need in our community but gives the students transferable skills,” she says. “I think it’s really important for relationship building and cultural exchange. We are in a rebuilding stage and want to make those meaningful connections. We are looking forward to students visiting our community and learning more about us to see where the homes will be.”
HDSB students are heavily involved in building the tiny homes, says Wade Richardson, Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and Pathways lead with the HDSB. He explains that students have been tasked with reading blueprints and have learned how to build following building codes and why those codes are important.
“They have the opportunity to participate in the construction process from start to finish and learn all aspects of the tiny home build,” he says. “This allows the students to gain skills in many different trades and experience those trades during the build. Students will complete certifications such as first aid and working at heights training. Construction is a diverse industry and the program gives students the opportunity to explore career paths that are right for them.”
Some of the trades the students will experience during this building project include general carpenter, electrician, roofer, plumber and cabinet maker.
Melissa Foley of Habitat for Humanity says this partnership has been a “wonderful journey” and commended the “great interest” from the Board in taking part.
“The Tiny Homes are something we can build faster and service a need quicker, and this also gives students an opportunity to build a real home that a family is going to live in,” she says.
Michael Gallant, Principal of Georgetown District H.S., says this partnership is a great opportunity for student learning. Students are making strong connections to the Indigenous Perspectives and Awareness area of focus in the HDSB’s 2020-2024 Multi-Year Plan
. He explains that the school’s ’Our Canada and World Studies Department’ has done a “wonderful job including learning opportunities about the Indigenous community.”
“The learning opportunities in this project extend beyond the classroom and the curriculum,” he says. “I am immensely proud that students are finding a way to develop their skills while simultaneously being of benefit to others. They are drawing direct connections between their work and an improvement in the living conditions for others. These Tiny Homes are going to change someone's life for the better and encourage our students to always try to find ways to support communities and be of service to others.”