Women in Construction, a local construction company, is remodeling an old building to provide affordable efficiency apartments to low-income people who work downtown. These apartments named, Urban Studio Apartments will be located above the current office and shop of the Women in Construction business, 114 N First Ave. W. The funding for this is through a training program Women in Construction Training Program (WiCTP.) WiCTP will invest $338,000 in construction funds from Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and Greater Minnesota Housing Fund to create nine units of affordable workforce housing. The Home Depot Foundation will invest an additional $12,500 toward energy efficiency and green improvements.
The Urban Studio Apartments, designed by DSGW Architects, will attract people who work in downtown Duluth and make 50 percent of median income, $18,000 or less annually. The units will be modern, energy efficient and built using many green products.
“Women in Construction is committed to using green building practices on all our projects, including affordable housing. We want to lessen the negative impact of construction on our environment as well as create a healthy space for the people who live in our homes,” says Michelle LeBeau, executive director of Women in Construction. “We are very pleased to assist them with their goals of being good stewards of the environment as they build and renovate homes in our core neighborhoods through the support of these three partners.” said Pam Kramer, executive director of Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
“This funding not only provides housing for those who need it, it will also improve education and health outcomes, enhance the productivity of workers, and generate substantial economic activity,” wrote Timothy Marx, commissioner of Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, in the letter awarding funds to the project.
“The Home Depot Foundation is proud to be a funding partner,” said Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation. “Our Foundation supports organizations that embrace green practices while building affordable, healthy homes for working families. By forming this partnership, we are furthering our shared mission of being responsible caretakers of the environment and health of local communities.”