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Sunday, Dec 4, 2022

Students Design Homes for Habitat for Humanity

Architecture students here are collaborating this spring and next fall semester with Addison County’s branch of Habitat for Humanity on a project to design two housing units. The houses will be built in spring 2019 on a single lot on Seymour Street.

Habitat for Humanity is an international and nonprofit organization dedicated to building affordable housing in order to address the housing issues that result from poverty. The local branch serves Addison County and is comprised of a 16 member board of directors made up of volunteers and over a hundred non-board volunteers

The Addison County branch was the result of collaboration between Margaret and Peter Carothers (co-founders of the chapter) and a Middlebury student’s interest in investigating the issues regarding affordable housing. The chapter built its first house in 1988, and has been building on a near-yearly basis since — it is currently finishing up its tenth house.

The average wage earners of Vermont aren’t able to keep up with the rising living costs, creating a need for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. All Habitat houses are built by affiliates and volunteers using donated and discounted materials. An important function of the organization is its ability to sell houses without mortgage interests to families who cannot obtain traditionally mortgaged houses. Thus, Habitat is able to sell a complete three to four bedroom house including the mortgage tax and insurance costs for only around $125,000.

for Humanity going. “There’s no place to go but up,” he said. “We’re now a known entity in the county. And I think that the relationship we’ve had with the college is a very interesting one and that the administration is very supportive of experiential learning and this architecture class is a classic example of that. We already are certainly involved right now because we have a club at the college and student volunteers, like sports teams, along with others usually assisting in the building parts. So I see the chapter strengthening and look forward to the continued relationship with the college and college students.”

Prof. McLeod, too, concluded positively about the partnership between Middlebury and Habitat for Humanity. “This is an incredible opportunity for students to work on a ‘real project’ and everything that brings with it: real clients; permitting requirements; public opinion; budget limitations; construction issues; and the importance of making something thoughtful, respectful, optimistic and pleasing,” he said. “I think it’s incredibly important that everyone is working together to create affordable housing in Addison County—and energy-efficient, well designed houses at that—and I hope it continues.”