Norwich University Design Build Collaborative, Downstreet and WCMH Showcase New Tiny Home Prototype for Vulnerable Populations, LIFT House

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University’s Design Build Collaborative along with partners Downstreet Housing & Community Development and Washington County Mental Health Services announced today the near completion of LIFT, an affordable, energy-efficient tiny house designed and built by Norwich University students and faculty as a prototype for residents in need.

Leadership from all three organizations gathered on Friday, April 26, at Norwich University to announce the initiative and to showcase LIFT (rendering pictured), the first house completed under this project.

The Partnership:

Norwich’s DBC partnered with Downstreet Housing & Community Development and Washington County Mental Health to come up with a way to reduce the financial cost of new housing while creating safe, healthy, and sustainable homes for vulnerable Vermonters.

Two new, custom-designed energy-efficient small homes (approximately 300 SF) that promote both contemporary and authentic architectural values will soon be located on a vacant lot once inhabited by blighted, deteriorating housing in downtown Barre City, Vt.

Housing vouchers will be paired with the dwellings in order to serve individuals who have mental illness and/or are at high risk of homelessness or are currently homeless.

With a Washington County Mental Health services clinic less than a mile away, this initiative is well-positioned to address a real and growing need in our community while reducing preventative instances of homelessness, all with a financial approach that makes sense.

Norwich’s DBC designed and built the first home that meets Downstreet, WCMH and future residents’ needs and provided the construction documents to Downstreet for future buildings, one of which will be located next to the first home. Downstreet will provide the project development and property management, maintaining and ensuring that the home environments meet the residents’ needs. Washington County Mental Health Services works with colleagues and partners to maximize wrap-around services to ensure residents have a thriving living experience.



Architecture + Art at Norwich University

About Norwich University’s Design Build Collaborative

As the only university in northern New England to offer integrated professionally accredited programs in Architecture, Business, Engineering, Construction, and Nursing, Norwich’s Design Build Collaborative calls on students to “act as well as conceive” and create solutions for local, regional, and global challenges. For over 20 years, our students have been addressing Vermont community needs through the construction of full-scale projects. Building on the seven different affordable housing prototypes Norwich has developed since 2011, the Collaborative not only continues to design and prototype regionally informed, resilient housing, but also organizes and coordinates related research and programs between the schools that make up the College of Professional Schools and partners with community organizations. Norwich University announced in February 2019 a $200,000 grant from TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, to fund the development of a collaborative in the College of Professional Schools dedicated to producing affordable homes.

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation's six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). 

Norwich will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders, Norwich launched the Forging the Future campaign in 2014. The five-year campaign, which is timed to culminate in 2019, is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities and is designed to enhance the university’s strong position as it steps into its third century of service to the nation.

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