Life House Wrapping Up New Building Renovations

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: September 18, 2019 08:57 PM

Life House is finishing up the renovations of a building they purchased next to their current building that will offer more space for important programs they offers to youth.

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Life House is a welcoming space for homeless youth in need of support and the need has grown over the years. Last year, Life House served 750 struggling youth. That’s why the expansion of Life House's building was a necessary step.

The project is in its final construction phases. The current Life House building and the new one will be connected to one another.

The purchase and renovations were done thanks to help from the City of Duluth Community Development funding and other local funders.

“We expanded our programming quite a bit over the last few years and we've been incredibly cramped so adding another building and space will make a huge difference,” said Margie Nelson, the Life House Community Engagement Director.

This addition expands Life House by over 1300 square feet. Construction is underway with painting, putting in doors, flooring, and more.

The new addition will be called The Annex. The two-story building will offer a modern, spacious, high tech classroom for youth.

"So kids that are working on getting their GED, getting back into high school and moving on to college, this is where they’ll go to have their needs met,” said Luke Morcomb, the Life House Futures Program Manager.

The educational setting is located on the second floor. It already has tables, chairs, and comfortable couches. Life House is adding a Smart Board to it.

The space will offer youth an area to do things like filling out FAFSA applications, college enrollment, getting transcripts, and more.

The youth Life House serves had a big role in the layout and design of the new building.

“They sat down and designed this. It does create ownership over the program and the project and the space so not only do they feel this is a good and safe space where they can get resources, but they feel a part of it,” said Morcomb.

A storefront and workshop for Life House's paid job training program will be located on the first floor. This extends an opportunity for local youth to learn crucial skills they'll take with them moving forward.

The space will be used to make products Life House sells to the community. They make candles and plan on making jewelry soon.

“Youth will also spend time doing market research, business development, website management. All of these things are things that we do here at Life House that we can extend that opportunity to them,” said Morcomb.

Morcomb said this helps youth with costumer service skills and resume building.

And lastly, youth will finally have an outdoor space to hangout.

"We just poured the cement this past weekend and there’s going to be a privacy fence around it so our young adults can be outside in a safe space,” said Nelson.

Nelson said on occasions they notice predatory adults in the area looking to take advantage of the youth they serve. The outdoor space will be a safe area for the youth to socialize and interact with one another.

Nelson said the outdoor space will also feature garden beds.

“We are looking to put garden beds so we can do gardening and use the vegetables at the youth center for meals to bring more healthy things for them to eat,” said Nelson.

A ribbon-cutting to celebrate the new building is planned for Oct. 22.

To learn more about Life House and their services, click here.


Alejandra Palacios

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