MAHASKA COUNTY — Rome wasn't built in a day, but a small home was built at New Hope Community over the course of fewer than eight hours.

The old Jefferson School building has given shelter to many people over the years, and is currently the home of New Hope Community. The grounds also house a project to build small homes.

Volunteers from Precision Pulley worked at creating the home from the ground up over the course of Friday, April 27.

New Hope Community Co-Director Blaine Vos said the house built on Friday was the third home completed.

Vos said the homes generally fall under one of three categories: transitional housing, short term housing and permanent housing.

According to a handout from New Hope Community, small homes can especially help those on a fixed income, those who need a temporary space to get back on their feet, and those who are homeless.

"We can make good [homes] for permanent housing for people in the countryside," he said. "We're not going to build a tiny house community here [in Oskaloosa], but we are going to spread these out in Mahaska County."

The idea came about, Vos said, after a long process with experimentation, trying and failing.

"But we've worked with the Homeless Coalition for 10 years and they do an excellent job," he said. "They do a great job on the front end but as far as something longer than a week, we need more resources."

In three months, Vos said, New Hope has put up about 200 nights of lodging for people.

"So it's just the next step in what Oskaloosa does for its community," he said, "and that is taking care of the people who are in transition."

Spencer Thury with Restoration Institute, which is housed out of New Hope, said the Restoration Institute's main draw currently with the temporary shelters is to create team builds.

"We are building up the community of Oskaloosa with local partners like Precision Pulley and Musco and events like the United Way Day of Caring," he said. "We are not building a tiny house community on site."

Thury said the project helps boost teamwork and camaraderie among the builders. It also is a ways to use recycled materials and build a sense of community, in addition to boosting skill levels.

"I've had generations of parents and kids working together on houses," he said.

According to information from New Hope, the idea is to place houses on marginal land in Mahaska County, and residents could be mentored. Houses are constructed with recycled wood and insulation, which brings costs down to around $30 a square foot.

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