Builders craft fanciful playhouses for HomeAid fundraiser

Project Playhouse has gone to the dogs.

The fundraiser, a pet project of HomeAid Southern Nevada, turns 3 — 21 in dog years — when nine themed playhouses are presented to the public May 4 at Town Square Las Vegas, 6605 Las Vegas Blvd. South.

The houses are scheduled to be on display daily at the shopping center through June 4, when they are set to be raffled off.

Although dogs will call the miniature structures home, funds from the project will aid the 13,000 homeless people in Southern Nevada, said Kathleen Dye, executive director of HomeAid Southern Nevada.

HomeAid builds and renovates multi-unit shelters for temporarily homeless families and individuals around the country and helps them rebuild their lives.

Dye said the first pet theme barks up a very giving tree.

“Besides trying to be mindful about how much the builders were donating, statistics show people spend more on their pets than they do with the homeless,” she said. “We thought, ‘What a great reason to raise funds.’ ”

Raffle tickets are $5 each and are available from noon to 8 p.m. in the Project Playhouse Pet Shoppe, which is inside the neighborhood cul-de-sac where the homes will reside.

The winding neighborhood will include a collection of themes.

Local builders collected donated materials and worked free of charge. In exchange, they got to have some fun with the themes for each house, Dye said.

The result includes themes such as a pirate ship, a firehouse, a fire hydrant, a “lucky dog” in an English cottage, a Little House on the Prairie, a tiki, an eco-friendly structure and one with a mixed martial arts theme.

The complete freedom resonated with Brandon Laughter, construction manager for Pulte Homes who is an Ultimate Fighting Championship fan.

“I didn’t want to build a regular miniature house, so I wanted to have some fun with it,” he said. “It’s an MMA (mixed martial arts)-theme house enclosed with an octagon cage around it.”

Modified logos — in this house, UFC stands for Ultimate Fetching Challenge — and faux diamond plating are a few of the touches its future canine owner may never appreciate.

Laughter is unsure what the final bill for the doghouse will be, he said.

The two playhouses from last year’s fundraiser cost about $10,000 to construct but yielded $20,000 for the Women’s Development Center, 4020 Pecos McLeod. HomeAid helped renovate the charitable organization’s educational center.

This year, HomeAid plans to donate funds again to the Women’s Development Center but also to Family Promise of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Catholic Worker.

Dye said due to the canine theme, HomeAid is considering helping local pet adoption agencies, too .

For more information, visit projectplayhouse.org or call 877-1077.

Contact Centennial and Paradise View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

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