When Mikayla Edris comes home, she gets to breathe a sigh of relief that shes living somewhere she can afford.

I really struggled looking around, trying to find a place to live. All of the apartments and houses have huge, either rent or mortgages, Edris said.

She only pays $775 a month for rent and utilities. Her home is part of a program that the Vail School District started in 2018. It provides teachers and staff with a tiny home.

Its much smaller, but has all the amenities a regular home has like air conditioning, a kitchen and a living room.

Edris said the only difference is a smaller closet.

Everything, including a table in the home, was built by students in the building trades instruction class at Cienega High School. Each of the houses take about 9 to 12 months to build.

Edris house is one of the four theyve built.

The district is hoping to attract teachers and staff with the tiny homes because some of their positions are experiencing a shortage. The district is putting staff and teachers on a wait list to live in them, but are prioritizing teachers.

There are all other teachers and staff members who live around here which is really fun to have that community, Edris said.

The school district said theyre going to be building about one home a year and are hoping to build a total of 24. They said they also provide other options for affordable housing including giving staff free land and utilities. Staff just have to buy the mobile home.

Edris is enjoying the benefits of being a apart of the district and has been a part of the Vail community for years, going to school there from kindergarten to high school.

I really love what Vail stands for. Its very inclusive and its a family, she said.

Its a family Edris will continue to be a part of, in a house built by students from the very same high school she went to.

I think they did a really great job and they learned a lot of valuable skills that they can continue to build on for the rest of their lives, she said.