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Metro Community College students build seven of 50 tiny cottages for Siena Francis House

October 2, 2021 as seen on

Omaha, Neb. — Siena Francis House is making headway on its tiny house village, which could alleviate the affordable housing shortage and benefit those experiencing homelessness.

Although the cottages are tiny, it's a big project. Now, Metro Community College students are helping out, building seven of the 50 small-scale affordable homes.

"We have construction times," Woods said. "So one day a week, or half that class we spend lecture materials talking about building and construction. And then we actually take the students out in the lab and teach them hands how to build it. So students are actually doing the framing, actually installing the materials."

He said this project focuses on how construction projects can be built on compassion.

"I think that most students that get into construction actually already have a little bit of that passion," Woods said.

Corey Woods teaches construction at Metro Community College. Dustin Crook shows the frame of one of 50 cottages that will be a part of Siena Francis Tiny Village. He's with the development company building most of the homes.

"This would be roughly around 350 square feet," Crook said. "It's a one-bedroom tiny home, or [as] we call them, tiny cottages."

Chief development officer Chris Knauf with Siena Francis house said for their residents, dignity comes first.

"So the fact that we have these units that really are homes," Knauf said. "They have the kitchenette areas. They have the privacy. They have their own living spaces, and it's part of a larger community of people working together and taking care of that community. It's absolutely critical to what we do."

Knauf said the nonprofit group's current studio-style apartments already build relationships and community.

"So if what we're seeing already is an example of the community we can expect at the cottages village, we're going to have a strong, vibrant, healthy community to look forward to," Knauf said.