Media Release: KZ Lodge Program Students Offer Tour of Tiny Home

(Thunder Bay, ON) Lakehead Public Schools is pleased to announce that the Tiny Home Pilot Project undertaken by Hammarskjold High School’s KZ Lodge students is nearing its final stage of completion. The pilot project launched during the 2022-2023 school year through a partnership with the Thunder Bay Poverty Reduction Strategy, Matawa First Nations Management, Lakehead Social Planning Council, Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre, Smart Modular Canada, Form Studio Architecture, the City of Thunder Bay, Home Depot Canada Foundation, and the Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board, and has provided Indigenous youth with valuable trades skills. Today, the students of the KZ Lodge provided the public with a tour of the tiny home they built from the ground up.

The Tiny Home Pilot Project is a pre-apprenticeship program nested within the KZ Lodge North program and engages Indigenous youth in the build of a one-bedroom 10×30-foot tiny home for donation to Matawa First Nations Management for use in a northern community. During the build, the KZ Lodge students learned to read blueprints, studied the principles of carpentry, learned to identify numerous building materials, applied mathematics skills, and safely operated common power tools. The completion of the tiny home pilot project provides the young builders with Interdisciplinary Studies secondary school credits and the Working at Heights Certificate through the Carpenters’ Local Union 1669.

Lisa MacLeod, teacher at the Hammarskjold High School KZ Lodge program, says that tackling both the need for more innovative housing solutions and enabling hands-on skill development in students empowers the community now, and in the future as well.

“We have noticed that the Tiny Home Pilot Project has encouraged students to stay in school. It is directing them to future education and employment opportunities in the skilled trades and connecting them to organizations including Kiikenomaga Kikenjigenwen Employment and Training,” said MacLeod.

The Lakehead Social Planning Council manages the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation funding that supports the project, and Bonnie Krysowaty, coordinator of the Poverty Reduction Strategy and program manager at the Lakehead Social Planning Council says the knowledge gained through this program will provide training and learning opportunities for the youth that could lead to employment.

“The Lakehead Social Planning Council is pleased to be a partner to help reduce poverty by fostering and supporting innovative housing ideas in Thunder Bay,” said Krysowaty.

The project relies on the involvement and generosity of several other community partners as well. The Home Depot Canada Foundation provided funding for the project through its Youth Opportunity grant which is dedicated to preventing youth homelessness in Canada through employment programs including housing transformation. Smart Modular Canada provided building materials, training, and expert knowledge. Before the build began, students traveled to Smart Modular Canada on the city’s south side to tour the new 76,000-square-foot facility to view and understand the steps involved in the construction of a tiny home.

Several other community organizations contributed in equally valuable ways. Lakehead Public Schools is grateful for the collaborative efforts of its partners to enable important learning opportunities such as this project.

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