Robert Morris University

Homeless Vet Gets “Tiny House” Built at RMU

Former student project now shelters a retired Marine in West Virginia.

Homeless Vet Gets “Tiny House” Built at RMU

A U.S. Marine Corps veteran in West Virginia who lost his house in a fire has a new roof over his head thanks to a Robert Morris University student project.

Hoy Young Jr. of Flatwoods, W.Va., escaped a fire in September that burned down his house and was living temporarily in a donated trailer. In December, he moved into a tiny house supplied by RMU. The house began as a 2017 honors project by RMU students Dale Miller ’17 and Mary Funderlich ’18.

The students developed a business plan to build and donate the dwelling under the guidance of management professor Marcel Minutolo. The house was later constructed with the help of a $50,000 grant from the Colcom Foundation and reserved until a recipient could be identified.

The university recently gave the nearly finished tiny house to Vision Appalachia, a faith-based community assistance and development organization in Pittsburgh, to find a suitable recipient. Also instrumental in the project’s completion was Sushil Acharya, RMU associate provost for research, global initiatives and development.

"I’m so thankful that the project was picked up," said Miller, now a communications representative for Curtiss-Wright in its Cheswick-based EMS division, which produces high-performance parts for nuclear-powered U.S. Navy vessels. "The fact that this project is going on to be completed and utilized in our community is truly incredible and is something I will always look back on with pride."

Click here for a story about the house from Charleston Gazette-Mail.