A Carton-Sized Idea for Affordable Housing

Rendering of House3 affordable housing project

As Duluth grows and changes, it is easy for some members of the community to get left out. A part of Ecolibrium3’s mission is to make sure that neighborhood growth happens at a rate that allows all people to enjoy the benefits. One aspect of that is high-quality affordable housing. Ecolibrium3 is partnering with the Duluth Police Department, Fire Department, Planning Department, and Waste Management to remove up to three condemned houses in Lincoln Park, with the use of money through a Community Development Block Grant. As we mitigate neighborhood blight through the removal of condemned houses, our top priority is to make sure the newly vacant land becomes housing the members of Lincoln Park neighborhood can buy. 

To achieve that goal, we are working with UMD’s Natural Resources Research Institute to bring their House3 project to the vacant lots. The House3 project produces small, efficient houses that can be micro-manufactured in the community to lower the cost of shipping. The pieces of the house consolidate to the size of a shipping container with all the external and internal pieces stored within for easy transportation. These houses are a total of 650 square feet, with removable walls that allow for personalization of the number of rooms the residents need. 

The best part about this spunky little house design is that it provides an all-encompassing possibility for the affordable housing shortage in Duluth. They are cost-effective to build and the quick assembly allows for minimal labor cost. They’re a great option for new families because the resident can personalize the number of rooms they need and will have the privacy of a house rather than an apartment. This affordable option can be sold at $90,000, but will be made available to eligible low-income people at 80% of their income. 

As we continue with our Blight Reduction project, we will be preparing the way for House3 to locate on the lots previously with condemned houses. Stay tuned over the next year as we make progress on affordable housing options in Lincoln Park!

Learn more about the House3 houses in this video.