Please join the Regional & Urban Design Forum as we learn about Youth Spirit Artworks Tiny House Village. Architect Seth Wachtel, director of the Architecture & Community Design program at the University of San Francisco will lead a discussion with the organizers, designers, builders, and residents of this unique and important place.
In 2016 Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA) began organizing to build a Tiny House Village for East Bay homeless youth. Already 26 youth-designed houses have been built with the help of over 2,000 volunteers, and the Tiny House Empowerment Village is now open.
The Village features:
- 26 secure 8′ x 10′ houses
- Communal bathrooms and showers
- Kitchen yurt
- Community gathering space for meetings
- On-site Resident Assistants
In addition, residents will be encouraged to build a strong and connected community through volunteer-led clubs, and take part in YSA’s core job training program with wrap-around case management services and youth-led workshops.
Director of the Architecture Program
University of San Francisco
Seth Wachtel is the director of the Architecture program at the University of San Francisco. He received his MArch from UC Berkeley and has worked in architecture and construction in India, Colombia, Haiti, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Zambia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. His focus is on culturally and environmentally appropriate design and the development of innovative construction techniques that produce regenerative and aesthetically fitting buildings and landscapes for human environments. Professor Wachtel teaches the Community Design Outreach, International Projects, and Construction Innovation courses, which provide students the opportunity to work on real-world local and international design/build projects for underserved communities and threatened environments. Co-founder of the first organic community garden on the University of San Francisco campus, Seth is actively involved in the production of shelter communities and food security gardens in urban areas, as well as regenerative processes in rural and peri-urban regions. He serves on the boards of Groundwork Institute, Self-Sustaining Communities, New Paradigm College, and the Building Beauty program.
Youth Spirit Artworks
Sally Hindman has been engaged in arts-anchored work to create justice with/for homeless/unsheltered people in the Bay Area for the last thirty-four years. In 2007 she founded Youth Spirit Artworks, a youth-led jobs training organization, which she continues to serve as Executive Director. In 2016 Youth Spirit leaders initiated efforts to create its Tiny House Empowerment Village, as part of a “100 Homes for Homeless Youth” Campaign, responding to the dire affordable housing crisis faced by young people locally. Sally previously directed Berkeley’s interfaith Chaplaincy to the Homeless, setting up and running its Telegraph Avenue drop-in center serving homeless youth for four years. She is the co-founder of Street Spirit, the 25-year-old San Francisco/East Bay homeless newspaper, currently published by Youth Spirit Artworks. Sally received her M.A. in Theology and Art and her M. Div. from Pacific School of Religion. She holds an undergraduate degree in Natural Resources (Environmental Conservation) from Cornell University. Sally has served as an adjunct faculty member at the Graduate Theological Union Center for Art, Religion, and Education and Starr King School for the Ministry teaching “Liberation Art.” In 1998 she received KPFA radio’s Alice Hamburg Community Service Award for her outstanding leadership in serving homeless people in the East Bay. Sally has been a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) since 1984 and is a member of Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting.
Board Vice President, Assistant Project Manager, Social Media Manager
Youth Spirit Artworks
Reginald Gentry has lived in the Bay Area, mainly Oakland and Berkeley, his whole life. He works as the Social Media Manager, Board Vice President, and Assistant Project Manager for Youth Spirit Artworks in Berkeley. Reginald joined the organization in August of 2015, and has been involved in the Tiny House Empowerment Village project since March of 2017. One of his biggest passions is just helping people however he can, to spread positivity. He has seen homelessness everywhere for as long as he can remember, and it has only gotten worse over the years. Reginald hopes that tiny house villages will continue to trail-blaze the fight against the homelessness crisis. Housing is and should be treated as a human right.
Rolf M. Bell
Volunteer Construction Director
YSA Tiny House Empowerment Village
Rolf Bell brings a lifelong passion for community wellness expressed through consistent generation of innovative solutions and superior results which address diverse social issues including affordable housing, education, disaster recovery and the environment at the local, regional, national and international levels. He has been the Volunteer Construction Director of the YSA Tiny House Empowerment Village since 2018, and the Principal of Green Living Builders, LLC since 2003. With a background in Communication Arts and Theology, Rolf served on the mayor of Oakland’s Vision 2010 Task Force for Education and was recognized as the first American clergy to be granted official permission to to work in East Germany behind the Iron Curtain.