OKC VeloCity | Pivot's first three 'tiny homes' for homeless teens near completion

Pivot's first three 'tiny homes' for homeless teens near completion

By Molly Fleming / Events / July 8, 2019

Three tiny homes are nearly completed on the Pivot, Inc. campus. The homes will house teenagers without permanent residence, age 17 to 19 years old.

Marcus Ude knew there were people needing permanent housing in the city.

But he didn’t know there were homeless teenagers, he said.

Ude is a general contractor by trade and has joined a team of volunteers to build tiny houses at Pivot, 201 NE 50th St.

Three homes are nearly completed and the new residents should occupy their homes in August.

Ude said when he received a call to help, he wasn’t completely on board. He’s a busy man, after all.

Then, he watched a video where a teenager talked about trying to navigate life without a stable home.

“That’s when the problem became real,” he said. “You can talk about homeless teenagers, but it’s abstract. Then you hear the story and you can’t really deny it at that point.”

During the 2019 OKC Homeless Alliance’s Point in Time count, which is when several agencies and volunteers count the people sleeping on the streets, about 15% of those counted were age 24 and younger.

Greater Oklahoma City Chamber member Pivot, Inc. is a nonprofit organization, founded to help youth have safe housing and their other basic needs met.

Pivot has a 16-bed shelter on its campus. The shelter runs at about 92% capacity and is licensed by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. But it can only shelter youth ranging in age from 12 to 17 years old. There are two apartment units for youth older than 17 years old.

Many teenagers are in a gap, where they’re too young to go to an adult shelter, and they’re too old to be in the foster care system. In addition, a teenager who is old enough might not be best served in an adult shelter because of developmental delays, or other vulnerabilities, which have onset because of the trauma the youth has endured.

That’s why the tiny homes are needed. One future tiny-home resident is aging out of foster care, but is excited to know there’s a home waiting for them.

Pivot President and CEO Jennifer Goodrich said the organization has spoken to its former clients about the homes’ designs. She said those young people were excited that this would now be offered.

Ude is overseeing the tiny homes’ construction, working with tiny homes-advocate and developer Richard McKown. He’s built hundreds of apartment units in downtown Oklahoma City and has nearly completed The Bower at Lee condo development on NW Fourth Street.

McKown has seen the tiny home idea work with underserved populations. His family worked on the 32 tiny homes that were constructed on the Food & Shelter campus in Norman.

Funding for the tiny homes started with a $100,000 seed grant from Impact Oklahoma. The project has received immense support from the construction community, including materials and donated time.

The homes are being built in phases, though if it gets fully completed, there will be 85 units. Permits will be applied for soon for the next three tiny homes. Those homes were designed by architects from Alford Hall Monaghan Morris.

Chamber members and other community partners step up

Many local organizations and individuals have donated money, time, materials and talent to the Pivot project. Impact Oklahoma kicked off the project with a $100,000 grant. 


  • Richard McKown, Ideal Homes & City Center Development
  • Marcus Ude, Universal Development Enterprise
  • Barbara Young, Manager of Construction Services, Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores
  • Terry Clinefelter, OSU-OKC
  • Christy Reyes Howell, CRH Interior Design + Custom Build
  • Stephon Smith and Melanie Anthony, Pivot, A Turning Point for Youth

The following have donated their professional services to the project.

  • David M. Box, Williams, Box, Forshee & Bullard, P.C.
  • Joseph H. Farmer, PLS, Frontier Land Surveying
  • Paul Lefebvre, Williams, Box, Forshee & Bullard, P.C.
  • Richard McKown, Ideal Homes & City Center Development
  • Bryan W. Richards, P.E., CFM, BWR Design Group, LLC
  • William Silk, A.I.A. - Principal, Architecture ConneXion + Consulting LLC – 1st three tiny homes
  • Marcus Ude, Universal Development Enterprise
  • Glenn Sanders, Metro Technology Center
  • Michelle Wunder

Donation to complete six tiny homes

Dolese Bros. Co. is donating the concrete for six tiny homes, and they are joined by these other partners who are providing enough materials to complete six tiny homes.

  • American Eagle Lighting (Ceiling Lighting)
  • Builders FirstSource (Framing Lumber)
  • Cambria USA (Countertops)
  • Castle Rock Fine Countertops (Fabricating)
  • Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity (Trusses)
  • Delta Faucets (Faucets)
  • Dolese Bros. Co. (Concrete)
  • Everyone’s Roofing and Construction (Roofing installation)
  • HIS Paint (Paint)
  • Home Depot (Insulation)
  • Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores (commercial grade tile)
  • Malarkey Roofing Products (Roofing products)
  • Terracon Consultants, Inc. (Soil survey)
  • Wilshire Cabinet + Co. (Cabinets and Hardware)
  • Womble Company, Pella Windows OKC (Windows/Doors)

Other product donors to the project include:

  • Ashton Gray (drywall, drywall instillation and finishing for three homes)
  • Baldwin Acoustics
  • Bryan Flooring
  • Farley Drywall and Construction
  • First American Title
  • M-D Building Products (tools)
  • Rebuilding Together 

The next three house designs are being done (and donated) by Alford Hall Monaghan Morris, who is working with Smith & Pickel Construction to build these homes.

Pivot’s work is the first time in the U.S. that this type of housing has been used for homeless teenagers, with wraparound services on the same campus. Other cities have tried it with homeless adults.

If it finds the program helps the teenagers in need, Pivot is excited to share its story with other organizations.  

“A great thing that could come from this is we can share our success stories with other communities,” said Melanie Anthony, Pivot vice president of development and engagement.

Goodrich said the homes are helping Pivot deliver two of its main services: housing and personnel connections. Those two go hand-in-hand and are vital to helping a young person get their life back on track.

Having the homes on Pivot’s campus also allows the youth to keep receiving services from the organization; such as therapy, getting back into school, or connecting to a job training program.

Every youth that can get helped at Pivot, that’s another young person that’s not sleeping on the streets, possibly committing a crime to get by, or getting aid from another organization.

“When you’re able to stabilize them, that young person is able to make progress in other areas,” said Anthony.

Ultimately, the young person could enter the workforce and add to the economy, rather than being a reason a police officer is called out on an early morning.

The tiny homes’ residents will also learn life skills, such as keeping their house clean and paying rent. The youth will sign a lease for their home, which may sound a little restrictive. But this allows the young person to have a rent record – including a reference – for when they move off campus to live independently.

The project will also turn into job training. As the home development continues, the plan is to get the young people involved with the construction so they can see the trades. Ude said there’s a shortage in the trade industries, so he’s excited that the young people will get to see this industry first-hand.

“You’ll never apply for a job that you don’t know exists,” he said. “Construction is a path, and it’s lucrative.”

Ude said young people are the best investment the community can make, because looking at it like any other investment, the return in the first 10 years will come back tenfold.

“When we invest in our youth, it makes our city better as a whole,” he said.

Other organizations working with the broader population of people needing permanent shelter will speak about homelessness on July 17 at the Chamber Forum monthly luncheon series. Leaders from the Homeless Alliance, City Care, The Curbside Chronicle, and the Alliance for Economic Development will speak on the topic. Online registration closes July 12, but tickets can still be purchased over the phone.


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