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NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University has received a $20,000 grant from the TD Charitable Foundation to fund affordable housing development using recycled shipping containers. 

The Affordable Shipping Container Homes Project will have Norwich students developing a site plan with 8-10 cargo container units and a community building on a 10-acre site in Waitsfield. 

Three homes will be located on the Waitsfield site, which is currently in the process of setting up an affordable housing community. In addition, another home will be located in Shelburne, Vermont, and used as farmworker housing.

Vermont's Economic Opportunity Office has determined the need for close to 400 units of new, supportive housing, as well as 1,250 new units of affordable housing targeted to households with incomes at or below 30% of the area median income.

Norwich will UMASS, Amherst, Roger Williams University, and the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield to explore issues in affordable housing in a rural environment. 

"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," said Director of Norwich's Design + Build Collaborative Cara Armstrong.

The Norwich affordable shipping container home will be designed and prototyped during the academic year with a completed build during a 2022 summer program at Yestermorrow. 

The build portion includes four 40-foot-long cargo containers and a budget to outfit each of them. Each school will work on one of the containers and build it to net-zero standards.

"A container home prototype and a container home community village design offer a solution to this crisis and a model that can be replicated to create an expanded portfolio of Vermont's affordable housing," Armstrong said. "We are so grateful for TD Charitable Foundation's continued support of this important work."