Oakland Schools students build home, aid affordable housing

Posted at 6:16 PM, May 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-24 18:16:00-04

PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — A newly built home sitting on the bed of a moving truck made its way down the road in Pontiac. The home was constructed by students at Oakland Schools Technical Campus-Northeast.

The trek from the campus to the home's permanent location on Melrose Street is about a half mile.

“All my friends, we all looked at each other like, ‘Wow, this is what we did,'" student Pedro Rivera told 7 Action News.

Instructor Aaron Swett said 26 second-year construction students, like Rivera, built the home over the past seven months.

“It’s a 1,368-square-foot house that we built from the ground up," he said.

Swett said many organizations partner to make this annual project possible. He said construction takes place at the school on Perry Street and students work with professional tradesmen throughout the process.

“They usually have an idea of what they want to do. ‘I want to flip houses' or 'I want to be a carpenter' or 'I want to build decks.' And then we get in, we start building the house and they get exposed to careers they never new existed," he explained.

This program helps get these students ready for the workforce, but it does something else important. It provides an affordable housing option for a low- to moderate-income homebuyer.

As 7 Action News has reported, affordable housing is in short supply in Michigan. Just this past September, the state announced a plan to try and boost the housing stock for low- and middle-income households by 13,500 units.

“Just seeing it getting lifted and everything, it was kind of like ‘Wow, this is our accomplishment,'" Rivera said of the home build. "It’s going to a good family. Good home, good neighborhood — it’s nice."

Swett said the home costs about $100,000 in materials to build and the selling price is around $170,000.