Tiny House Team

Tiny Houses Cover Photo White Gold

Our Mission

 Help people who are homeless during the coldest parts of winter.


Our Project

Design tiny houses to fulfill our mission.

Unfortunately, many people in Rapid City die from exposure to extreme temperatures. Linda Edel, late director of the Western South Dakota Community Action Agency (WSDCAA), came to the EPICS program with a dream that no person would freeze to death. Partnered with the WSDCAA, the Tiny House team is designing tiny houses as a solution. Nobody should freeze to death, regardless of where they are in life or where they’ve been.

As engineering students, we see potential solutions to every problem. The problem is people are freezing to death in Rapid City, and we see a clear solution. These tiny houses will provide people who have nowhere else to go, with a private, dignified place to stay during the harsh cold.

People without homes or another place to go are dying from exposure. Each death incurs an average cost of $10,000 in funeral expenses. Rather than spending that money on a funeral, it should be spent on keeping people alive. It should be spent on tiny houses.

Project Partner

Throughout its 51 years of operation, the Western South Dakota Community Action Agency has worked on poverty reduction programs, “in partnership with the low-income community, to meet needs unique to the local population.”  The agency has seen many successful efforts throughout the years, including Operation Mainstream, a job training program, Head Start, a detox program, and legal aid.

The counties that WSDCAA serves have a total population of 184,530 of which 26,469 are classified as low-income - that amounts to nearly 15%. The goods and services provided by WSDCAA work to address this deficit for over 25,000 thousand people in western South Dakota.

The Tiny Houses project is just one of many the WSDCAA offers the local community.  These programs affect many people that we, as a design team, need to hold paramount during the design process.

Visit WSDCAA for more information.

Project Reports


Our Team

We are a group of diverse engineering students at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Our team combines various engineering and science disciplines; we are all committed to helping solve the problem of homelessness.

Tiny House Board Spring 2018  

Advisors and Collaborators

Dr. Stuart Kellogg, Industrial Engineering Department Head (stuart.kellogg@sdsmt.edu)

Jennifer Benning, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Department (jennifer.benning@sdsmt.edu)

Dr. Andrea Surovek, Research Scientist, Mechanical Engineering Department (andrea.surovek@sdsmt.edu)

Vaughn Vargas, Industrial Engineering Alumni (vaughn.vargas@mines.sdsmt.edu)

Contact Us

EPICS Tiny House Team

Contact Us: tiny.houses@mines.sdsmt.edu