Jarred Flowers built a tiny house as part of his Eagle Award project. He intends to donate it to a tiny house camp for the homeless in Seattle through the Low Income Housing Institute. (Courtesy Photo)

Carnation teen finds reward in building tiny house for homeless in Seattle

By reaching out to the Low Income Housing Institute, Carnation’s Jarred Flowers was able to use his Eagle award project as a way to help with homelessness in Seattle.

Flowers, a member of Boy Scout Troop 411, is completing his work on an 8-foot by 12-foot tiny house, to earn his Eagle award and become an Eagle Scout. The project, which has been in the works for several months, was chosen because Flowers felt he wanted to directly help a person in need.

“I have to do something that benefits my community and I wanted it to have a lasting impact on somebody’s life and wanted to appeal to the homelessness project in Seattle,” he said. “Through research and phone calls and emails I decided to build one of the tiny homes.”

After formulating a plan, Flowers spent the summer fundraising and planning some of the logistics. He reached out to the Low Income Housing Institute, an affordable housing developer based in Seattle. LIHI runs its own Tiny House Village program in partnership with the Nickelsville homeless encampment, the city of Seattle, SHARE/Wheel and Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.

Flowers contacted the group to get information on how he could donate a tiny house to them and was provided with resources to get started.

“We met at one of the encampments of a dozen or so other tiny homes, I got to see what the finished projects looked like which was a good experience,” he said. “They gave me the building instructions, the contacts to order the materials through Home Depot. They had a contact there, whenever I ran into a problem with construction they would handle that. It made the process clear and it ran smoothly.”

After raising $2,300 though donations from family, friends, and his church, Flowers purchased the materials he needed and started building at the beginning of September. To help speed along the process, he met with scouts from his troop and friends from school to work on the house on the weekends. As part of the Eagle project requirements, Flowers kept track of all the hours everyone spent working on the house, which added up to 250 hours across 25 people.

It took nearly a month, but Flowers finished the house on Sunday, Oct. 1, the day before his 18th birthday.

“I finished to the level of what the beneficiary says is finished. They are looking for the frame and that’s it, the complete house,” he said. “But I am adding interior structures like a bed, storage and shelves, whatever I can do to make a more comfortable living area. We are going to paint it too, so the aesthetic will look nicer.”

Now Flowers will work with the LIHI to set up a time for the house to be transported into Seattle and to one of the camps. He will also be organizing donation drives at his school, Eastside Catholic, for sleeping bags and school supplies to donate to homeless camps as well.

“I definitely have a greater appreciation for the people who donate all of the time to help organizations like these, without it the people wouldn’t have those homes,” he said.

“I learned that although it’s time consuming, it’s really rewarding to pursue a project like this even if it’s not for an Eagle scout project.”