Tiny House Village

Apply to be a Resident!
Interested in applying to be a resident of our Tiny House Empowerment Village transitional housing program? If you’re between the ages of 18-23, identify either Oakland or Berkeley as your home city, and are currently “literally” homeless as defined by Home Stretch (https://everyonehome.org/our-work/home-stretch/), please click below!



Join 2,000 volunteers (so far!) in building the nation’s first Youth Tiny House Village

In January of 2016, youth at YSA initiated a community organizing campaign to build a Tiny House Village for homeless youth in the San Francisco East Bay Area. As of 2021, we’ve built 26 beautiful, youth-designed houses with the help of over 2,000 volunteers in Habitat-for-Humanity-style builds. We plan to open the Tiny House Empowerment Village in early 2021! We’re working in partnership with non-profit developer Housing Consortium of the East Bay and the local interfaith community to complete a multi-faceted, community-led Village that is designed by the young people it will benefit. The completed Village will feature:

  • 26 secure 8′ x 10′ Tiny Houses with
    • Murphy beds
    • windows
    • skylight
    • storage
    • electricity
    • furnishings
    • heated floors
  • On-site communal bathrooms and showers
  • A kitchen yurt for residents to cook weekly communal meals and securely store their own food
  • A community gathering space for meetings
  • On-site Resident Assistants who live in the community
    As a part of living at the Village, all residents will be engaged in building a strong and connected community. Youth- and volunteer-led clubs will give residents many opportunities for personal and professional growth, including access to training and mentorship in the following areas: artmaking, art entrepreneurship and sales, nonprofit management, gardening, sewing, medicine, music, biking and exercise, cooking, construction, and more. Residents will be supported in developing a responsibility to the community at large, achieved through connections to local faith organizations and active involvement with local social justice projects. Additionally, all residents at the Village will take part in YSA’s core jobs training program, where they will receive wrap-around case management services and engage in youth-led workshops around healthy interpersonal relationships, restorative practices, and more.

Click here for a detailed overview of our plan, progress, and purpose!

We are actively recruiting members of our community to support us with advocacy, fundraising, and building at our Habitat-for-Humanity-style builds.

Click here to volunteer!

The Youth Housing Crisis

The Tiny House Empowerment Village project was initiated by young people in YSA’s programs in response to the crisis of affordable and accessible housing. There are more than 1,700 homeless young people sleeping on the streets in Alameda County on a given night, and fewer than 36 youth-designated beds in shelters and affordable housing. Young people facing housing instability have overwhelmingly experience abuse and neglect, mental and physical health struggles, and lack of access to public resources. 

Youth Spirit Artworks’ Tiny House Empowerment Village will increase the number of youth-designated beds in the county by almost 40%.

The Tiny House prototype, unveiled in 2017, was designed and built by 6 youth leaders working with local architects, design students, and contractors. Now, in 2021, we need your help to complete the Village.

Interfaith Activism

The Tiny House Empowerment Village is a multifaith project, involving the support of over 25 congregations. We are continuously grateful for the religious community’s commitment to justice, advocacy, and service work for the most vulnerable members of our communities.

Lead Congregations
Congregation Beth El, Berkeley
First Congregational Church of Berkeley
Kehilla Community Synagogue, Oakland
Shiloh Christian Fellowship, Oakland
Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley

Participating Congregations/Faith-Based Agencies
All Souls Episcopal Church, Berkeley
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists
Congregation Beth Israel, Berkeley
Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley
East Bay Church of Religious Science, Oakland
Oak Life Church, Oakland
Shambhala Meditation Center, Berkeley
Skyline United Church of Christ
St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Albany
St. Columba Catholic Church, Oakland
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Oakland
Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting, Berkeley
Temple Beth Abraham, Oakland
Temple Sinai, Oakland

To get your congregation involved, email us.

100 Homes for 100 Homeless Youth

Our work to create housing for at-risk youth doesn’t stop with the Tiny House Empowerment Village. In response to the dire need for youth housing, Youth Spirit Artworks is engaged in a ten-year community organizing campaign to create “100 Homes for 100 Homeless Youth” in the East Bay Area. Over the next ten years, the YSA youth’s plan is to eventually create:

  • 25 youth Tiny Houses
  • 25 beds in a total of five rented or purchased “co-op” houses
  • 50 new, dedicated units of youth housing as part of a larger affordable housing project.

Get Involved!

We’re seeking people of all ages and abilities to help out at our build days. If you would like to be involved with advocacy, please consider committee membership to get involved with planning and outreach for our Tiny House Empowerment Village. To volunteer with the Tiny House Empowerment Village in any way, please email our Tiny House Project Coordinator Jilly de la Torre at reginald@youthspiritartworks.org.

If you would like to donate to the Tiny House Village, please click here and scroll down to “Tiny House Village.”