NWFSC aids in housing crisis

Mack Bailey, 2nd from left, and Instructor Robert Andrews, 2nd from right, with students in front of the Tiny Home they are building.

By RUBY KEARCE 

Mack Bailey the Construction Trades Coordinator for Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) recently sat down with the Herald – Breeze to discuss a project his current class is working on in conjunction with Tom Baker, housing director for HUD in Walton County. The Kiwanis Club invited Bailey as a guest speaker in May 2023 to explain what his class entails and what goals the students are working toward. 

While with the Kiwanis meeting Baker informed Bailey of all the homes needed to fulfill current vouchers in Walton County. This conversation with Baker got gears turning in Bailey’s head about how his class can help with Walton County’s current housing crisis since the tiny home that his class is currently building is the perfect size for a small family in need of a home. 

INSTRUCTOR Robert Andrews helping student with power tool knowledge.

Bailey explained that building this tiny home on campus arms students with the knowledge of how to build a home, and then allows for local businesses or individuals to bid on the home and locate it on their property. Then a family with a voucher can be selected for the home.  

The class receives funds to conduct projects and gain construction knowledge, and several projects can be done with said funds. The class settled on building a tiny home, and then the idea morphed into building the home for a local family with a voucher and in need of a home. 

The construction program at NWFSC is in its infant stages, with this semester being Bailey’s fourth semester instructing the class. In fact, Bailey said that the class he is currently teaching is technically his first full semester with students. 

HELPING STUDENTS LEARN house-building.

Bailey will teach students the construction trade and introduce them into the community with a contractor, emphasizing the importance of this trade within Walton County given the tremendous growth it is currently experiencing. Bailey said that this home is only the first of many, and he plans to do as many as the college and the surrounding environment allows for him and his class to do. 

There will be a cookout hosted at the Northwest Florida State College Chautauqua Campus on Dec. 13 starting at 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.. in honor of the students’ hard work on this project.