Norwich University has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the TD Charitable Foundation to fund the development of a construction management plan to create Vermont’s first tiny house community.
This grant supports the development of the next generation of affordable tiny houses by students and faculty in the College of Professional School’s School of Architecture + Art through Norwich’s Design+Build Collaborative (the Collaborative). This project partners with Homes First, a grassroots organization founded and based in Middlebury, to realize a village of tiny houses in Middlebury of affordable, dignified housing.
“Building on the success of our housing prototypes, we strive to integrate better solutions for community health, accessibility, and adaptability,” Collaborative Director Cara Armstrong said. “We continue to find and develop partnerships within the university and with outside organizations that align with our mission to conduct research to understand the relationship between buildings and occupant health and make refinements to a tiny house with regard to affordability, transportation, financing, mechanical systems designs and community development.”
“Supporting Norwich University’s affordable housing initiative aligns with TD’s social purpose to create sustainable, inclusive communities and make a lasting positive impact,” said Phil Daniels, TD Bank market president.
The Collaborative will work with a group of community members that has spent over a year researching truly affordable housing options for people all along the income spectrum. The Collaborative will also tap insight from “Conversations from the Open Road,” a citizen-journalism, film production program for high school students.
The Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity and Vermont’s 2016 Point in Time Count has determined that Vermont should add nearly 400 units of new supportive housing and an additional 1,250 new units of affordable housing targeted to households with incomes at or below 30% of the area median income. A tiny-house prototype offers a solution to this crisis and a replicable model that can expand Vermont’s affordable housing. The Collaborative will provide design services to Homes First along with a construction management plan to create Vermont’s first tiny house community.
Norwich’s Design+Build Collaborative calls on students to “act as well as conceive” to create solutions for local and global challenges.