The Vernon First Nations Friendship Centre is hoping tiny houses can make a big difference in the lives of at-risk youths.

The FNFC has launched a raffle fundraiser to generate funds to build tiny houses for youth at risk of being homeless.

The tiny house will be build at Allan Brooks Nature Centre and then raffled off to build more tiny houses.

Barry McDougall, manager of the Kekuli Apartment block owned and operated by the Vernon FNFCS, routinely turns away youth who seek housing and are couch surfing.

The Kekuli Apartments house youth between 19-29 years in 20 apartments.

“We simply need more housing in this and many other communities across Canada”, says McDougall.

The tiny house concept was initiated by one of the safe house staff, Kirk Lessard, while discussing ways to generate income for the Vernon FNFCS with McDougall.

McDougall suggested building one tiny home to raise awareness of the issue and generate revenues to put toward the construction of a 20-unit community village of tiny homes.

The 122 friendship centres across Canada have mandates to house First Nations living in Urban settings, which now represent 60 per cent of the Aboriginal population in Canada. The tiny house concept may be part of the answer to create needed housing.

The friendship centres state all youth in need of housing are eligible to acquire housing, regardless of heritage.

The Vernon FNFCS has partnered with the Allan Brooks Nature Centre to construct the tiny home on their lands in the Commonage.

The partnership falls in line with the mandate of sustainable and environmental education for both agencies.

Tickets for the raffle will go on sale once the tiny home is constructed in July over a two week period by volunteer teams of professional builders and workers.

It will be on display at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre through the end of August and will be transferred to the IPE fair in Armstrong and raffled off on the last day of the fair.

“We are hoping to generate enough money to help launch the planning construction for the 20 unit Tiny Home community at some suitable location in the Vernon area,” said Maggie King, Vernon FNFCS board member. “There is the old saying, go big or go home…. you may as well think big and build 20 Tiny Homes for youth to go home to.

McDougall encourages those interested in volunteering for build teams; or want to donate financially; or offer materials, to contact him at 250-306-3275 or email

Originally published:
June 5, 2016
Castanet Staff – Castanet Vernon