The AmeriCorps Legacy House

Here you’ll find info and updates on the AmeriCorps Legacy House, an affordable housing project in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Duluth.

The AmeriCorps Legacy House Project is a project to transform a previously condemned building into an affordable and livable home for Eco3 AmeriCorps VISTA members. Revitalizing this property, located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Duluth, can address multiple issues within our community, including the lack of affordable housing for volunteers and blight.

The Project Timeline

Our team and partners are working hard to complete the AmeriCorps Legacy House. Scroll through the gallery below to check out the work we’ve done so far!

Why is the VISTA Program Important?

Since 2017, the Ecolibrium3 AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Program has hosted over 120 VISTA members who address the most vital issues facing our communities, including equity and inclusion in economic opportunity, safe and affordable housing, health and food security, drug abuse prevention, environmental sustainability, and climate and disaster resilience.

 Members have collectively recruited over 3,000 community volunteers who served over 15,000 hours of community service and have raised over $25 million in resources for local organizations and community initiatives.

Affordable Housing for VISTA Members

A VISTA member’s living allowance is the equivalent of $36 a day, an amount that can make finding affordable housing a challenge. Based on the average rental costs in Duluth, most VISTA members pay upwards of 30% of their income on housing, which, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, means that most of our volunteers are housing cost burdened. The Legacy House aims to provide up to four VISTA members a year with an affordable housing option.

Equity & Accessibility and National Service

The financial sacrifice of taking on a year of national service can prevent individuals from choosing to participate in AmeriCorps service. AmeriCorps service, however, can be an important step for young people to get experience in a field with few entry-level jobs as well as to provide a rewarding experience for anyone to give back to their community.

Legacy House helps alleviate some of the financial burden of choosing to do AmeriCorps service and thus makes the Eco3 VISTA program more equitable and accessible. In addition, the Legacy House’s ADA accessible bedroom can help make the Eco3 AmeriCorps VISTA program more feasible for individuals of varying abilities, especially since less than 1% of all units are equipped with features that would allow a wheelchair user to live fully independently, according to HUD. 

Blight Reduction

Blight refers to a condition in a neighborhood or community where there are vacant, degraded or derelict properties or buildings. Blight can have a real detrimental impact on a neighborhood, including decreasing surrounding property values, posing health and safety dangers, and deterring needed investment in a neighborhood.

In Duluth, the Lincoln Park neighborhood especially has many blighted properties and vacant lots. Legacy House too  was a blighted, condemned building that would most likely have been demolished, leaving behind a vacant lot too small for new construction due to updated zoning laws. Since the property was given to Ecolibrium3 in 2017, it is now being rehabilitated and is part of Eco3’s efforts to tackle blight and revitalize the community.

Community Partnerships

The rehabilitation of Legacy House has been made possible with the support of the community and partners like the local building trades, many of whom have donated labor to the project. While much of the labor was donated by the trades for this project, Legacy House did serve as a training site for apprentices in the trades, allowing these apprentices to gain real world experience that would otherwise be difficult to replicate in the studio.

Find Out the Latest

Updates and blog posts related to the AmeriCorps Legacy House as well as our other housing work in the community.