PRESS CONFERENCE: “Home for the Holidays"

WHO: Norwich University Design+Build Collaborative (Collaborative) leadership and students along with Downstreet Housing & Community Development leadership and Washington County Mental Health Services leadership.

WHAT: Will showcase the second LIFT House and celebrate the completion of the two tiny houses and next door renovated house into two apartments with holiday wreaths and other holiday cheer and a walk-through/house tour. Both LIFT Houses were made possible through grant support from the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®.

WHERE: 84 Brook Street, Barre, Vermont.

WHEN: 10 a.m. Dec. 17, 2020.

WHY: Norwich’s Collaborative partnered with Downstreet Housing & Community Development and Washington County Mental Health Services 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 square feet) that promote both contemporary and authentic architectural values are now located on what was once a vacant lot inhabited by blighted, deteriorating housing in downtown Barre City. The houses join a now-renovated house into two apartments getting occupied under the same program. Housing vouchers are paired with the dwellings in order to serve individuals who have mental illness and/or are at high risk of homelessness or are 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 preventable instances of homelessness, all with a financial approach that makes sense.

HOW: As the only university in northern New England to offer integrated professionally accredited programs in architecture, business, engineering, construction, cybersecurity 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 omore than 20 years, our students have been addressing Vermont community needs through the construction of full-scale projects. Building on the eight 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.

About Downstreet Housing & Community Development
Downstreet Housing & Community Development exists to eradicate the systemic housing challenges that affect Central Vermont citizens and communities. As Central Vermont’s leading affordable housing provider, Downstreet’s mission is to strengthen the communities of Central Vermont by engaging with people, providing affordable homes, and connecting people to the resources and services they need to thrive. Since 1987, Downstreet has served Lamoille, Washington, and Orange counties through programs and services that include: developing and providing affordable apartment rentals; home-repair loans; down-payment assistance for homebuyers; financial wellness education; at-home support services for elderly and disabled adults; and real estate development consulting services. Downstreet constantly seeks to create new solutions and opportunities that will uplift our most vulnerable Vermonters and desperately close the housing gaps that exist today. Downstreet is part of the NeighborWorks network seeking to create opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities.

About Washington County Mental Health Services
Washington County Mental Health Services is a comprehensive community mental health center providing mental health and developmental services throughout the Washington County community. More than 8,000 individuals are served annually by this private, non-profit organization with main offices in South Barre, Vermont. In 2018, Washington County Mental Health Services was recognized as a Center of Excellence by Vermont Care Partners, a statewide advocacy and practice improvement organization. Washington County Mental Health Services
 is a major employer in central Vermont, with more than 800 full- and part-time staff.

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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, founded in 1819 by U.S. Army Capt. Alden Partridge, is the oldest private military college in the United States. Norwich is one of our nation's six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

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