OC college students design, build ADU to help homeless youth who have aged out of foster care system

David González Image
Monday, June 10, 2024
OC students build home for homeless youth who aged out of foster care
UC Irvine and Orange Coast College students designed, engineered and built an ADU to help homeless youth who have aged out of the foster care system.

PLACENTIA, Calif. (KABC) -- An open space in the backyard of a shelter run by Homeless Intervention Services of Orange County will soon transform into a home for young people between 18 and 24 experiencing homelessness.

The home is meant to help foster youth who have aged out of the system, according to Christine Stellino, executive director for HIS-OC.

"It is orphans that parents have abandoned or have been deceased," she said. "It is folks that have been emancipated that again, their parents aren't involved in their lives."

Students from UC Irvine and Orange Coast College designed, engineered and built the two-bedroom accessory dwelling unit - or ADU - to address the state's housing needs and be sustainable.

The group worked with Danielian Associates Architects + Planners to construct the home.

"It was about three months worth of work. The number of students varied from 30 to 50 students. Ninety percent of them were all women students," said Victor Alvarez, Danielian's chief technology manager.

The students donated the home to HIS-OC. The 750-square-foot space will add up to eight beds to the shelter's transitional youth program.

"This is our next generation of our population, and we need to start here to empower this population to sustainability and self-sustainability," Stellino said.

The shelter is working with the city of Placentia to ensure the ADU meets all city building requirements.

"The city was flexible in allowing them to build it off-site, still went through a plan check process, building and planning process and then they're going to build a permanent foundation and drop it on there," said Joe Lambert, director of development services with the city of Placentia.

HIS-OC believes the small, compact home will get at-risk youth off the streets and on the right path.

"When you don't have parents and you don't have guidance and maybe through lack of opportunity to education and monetary support," Stellino said. "This program introduces them through a collab of many community-based organizations to help them realize what's out there."

It costs $160,000 to install the ADU. So far, HIS-OC has raised $100,000 and the organizations is working with the city of Placentia to raise the remaining money.

HIS-OC is accepting donations to achieve their goal.

A groundbreaking for the ADU is set to take place on June 12 at 10 a.m.