The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, led by Director Bonita Lehigh, is fundraising for a tiny-house initiative to combat youth homelessness with a concert in Farmington Saturday, Nov. 13, and a call for local sponsors. The initiative, called “Making Home Possible,” will build tiny homes to provide homeless and housing-insecure youth with affordable, comfortable housing. Andrea Swiedom/Franklin Journal file photo

FARMINGTON — It’s been three years since Bonita Lehigh, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (CES), came up with the idea to provide homeless youth with affordable housing in the form of tiny houses; it’s been a year since CES officially kicked off its efforts for the “Making Home Possible” initiative; and just seven months since they were awarded a $20,000 grant to make that vision a reality.

However, the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Making Home Possible don’t have all the money they need. The CES has started efforts to raise an additional $45,000 with a “Raise the Roof!” fundraiser concert on Saturday, Nov. 13, and a call for local companies, institutions and community members to sponsor the initiative.

The money will go toward everything needed to complete construction on the initiative’s first tiny home — materials, furnishings, appliances, electrical wiring, etc.

It is important that the tiny home goes beyond the features of the likes of a camper, Lehigh said.

“We need to empower and heal youth, not keep them marginalized in a 8′ x 20′ shed,” the CES stated in an information sheet handed out in the community. “Therefore, we want to equip the house with quality appliances, insulation and furnishings to make sure this is a livable home that’s comfortable for healthy living.”

The concert from 6-10 p.m. at the Farmhouse Beer Garden in Farmington will feature live music from the Taylor Twins, Cole Martin and Darby Sabin. Food and drinks will also be available, though those proceeds will go toward the Farmhouse, who has donated the use of their space for the evening.


While the concert will contribute to some funds, they are hoping it will direct community attention to the initiative because ultimately, the CES is looking for sponsors and community funding.

“We want to stress that even though we’re leading the project, we’re still looking for community partners that are willing to either sponsor or help us with this,” said Sara Taylor, the CES’ communications coordinator and a performer at the concert.

“We want the community (and local businesses) to come together to take on this issue,” she added. “We noticed that a lot of people talk about (housing insecurity). And so we’re hoping that we can gain momentum by hosting this event.”

Taylor said the goal of the Making Home Possible initiative is to create “comfortable living situations for homeless people, especially housing insecure youth.”

“A lot of people in the (CES) program have home life problems,” Taylor said. “Housing insecurity is a huge problem that especially targets youth.”

Taylor and Lehigh feel it’s especially important that this initiative get off the ground following the closure of the Western Maine Homeless Outreach shelter — the only local homeless shelter — in 2020.


More so, Taylor noted that insecure housing youth are less inclined to stay in shelters for a variety of reasons, including concerns about safety.

As of now, the first mobile tiny home will be for a homeless youth aged 16-24. The CES is working on partnering with local churches and social-service agencies to find foster families that will keep the tiny home on their property.

Once the initiative is off the ground and more homes are built, Lehigh hopes to offer this housing to individuals from other financially marginalized/housing insecure populations such as veterans and the elderly.

The “Raise the Roof!” fundraiser party will take place Saturday, Nov. 13, 6-10 p.m. at the Farmhouse Beer Garden. The CES is asking for at least $5 to $7 for tickets. More information can be found at

Those interested in sponsoring, donating, or learning more about the initiative can reach out to Community Outreach Coordinator Trey Michonski at or head to their website,

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