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YouthCare and University District Food Bank’s U District home gets national recognition

The building includes a rooftop garden above and a supportive coffee shop below

The Marion West
Courtesy of Runberg Architecture Group

A collaboration between the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), YouthCare, and the University District Food Bank won top honors at a national home-building conference last month.

Marion West, designed by local architecture firm Runberg Group, won two grand Golden Nugget awards at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference for its division: Residential Housing Project of the Year and Affordable Housing Community.

The building opened around this time last year, giving a new home to the University District Food Bank; providing 20 units of permanent, supportive housing for homeless young adults through YouthCare; and adding 29 units of workforce housing to the neighborhood.

The project allowed YouthCare to expand for the first time in more than 20 years. The nonprofit also operates on-site employment training and counseling onsite. On the ground floor, Street Bean Coffee employs “street-involved young people” and funds job training.

On the roof, a 7,400-square-foot garden grows fresh produce for the food bank downstairs.

Another Runberg project from LIHI won a merit award as a notable affordable housing community. Abbey Lincoln Court in the Central District has 68 workforce housing units, including three-bedroom apartments and townhouses.