Tiny homes give homeless Oklahoma teens a place to live independently

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Giving homeless teens a roof over their heads: That's the idea behind the tiny homes built at the nonprofit Pivot.

The organization also aims to teach youth life skills while offering support services at the same time.

It may sound like a small idea, but it's making a huge impact on teens who are homeless. Many who have aged out of foster care, like 19-year-old Carter.

"Having a bed's going to be different. I sleep on a couch right now so I have a lot of back problems from it," Carter said. "(I) first went into the homeless shelter and then couch-surfed for a while and now I’m staying with my sister's adoptive family.”

His father is in prison and his mother died when he was only 10. Pivot has been crucial in helping him with therapy, clothing, and now, as of Thursday, a place of his own to live.

"We're already good at providing permanent connections through the services we provide, but housing was a missing link,” Pivot President and CEO Jennifer Goodrich said.

The tiny homes are located right behind the Pivot offices by design. It allows convenience for youth to use their services when they need, and offers life skills to transition into adulthood.

"Actually having to do things on my own like learning to cook and figure out stuff like how to cook, how to actually grocery shop and budget,” Carter said.

There's no cap on how long youth can live there but rent slowly increases from zero dollars the first month to cap at $150 after six months.

"Being able to serve them in a way that again lets them show that they have the same talent, skills that any other young person in our community has,” Goodrich said.

Changing the vicious cycle of at-risk youth by showing them the care and support they need to thrive.

"It's really crazy that so many people helped just make this dream a reality and I’m so thankful for them,” Carter said.

Several groups and individuals came together to help furnish the labor and money needed.

Pivot, Inc. is a nonprofit for at-risk youth advocating, and counseling youth and families to create a more positive outcome.

The next phase of the tiny homes will start by the end of the year. In the end, there will be 85 tiny homes.

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