Containers bid to ease homes crisis

ContainersConverted shipping containers could be used as temporary accommodation for homeless men and women under plans to help ease a city's housing crisis.

The 36 adapted containers have been transformed into self-contained studio flats, and feature bathrooms, kitchens and plasterboarded walls.

The structures were designed for a social housing project in Amsterdam two years ago but the scheme had to be abandoned after hitting funding difficulties. It is hoped they will instead be used as temporary homes in Brighton and Hove from late spring next year.

The Brighton Housing Trust and developer QED are to submit a planning application to the local city council for a central site featuring the modified containers with allotments on the roofs.

Andy Winter, chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust, said "imaginative solutions" were needed to deal with the "desperate" housing situation in the city. Mr Winter said: "I have to admit that when it was first suggested to me that shipping containers be used for housing I was a bit sceptical.

"However, having seen what can be achieved, I was quickly won over. The WC and shower unit is exactly the same as my daughter had in her student accommodation and she much preferred it to having to share bathrooms and toilets with other students. Who wouldn't?

"What really excites me about this opportunity is that land that might otherwise lie idle for five years will be brought back into life and used to provide much-needed temporary accommodation for 36 men and women in Brighton and Hove."

When the site comes to be redeveloped, the containers can be transferred to other locations. Mr Winter added: "This appears to me to be very attractive from a sustainability perspective."

Shipping-container homes have been used elsewhere, including in London, and are seen as a significantly cheaper housing option than bricks and mortar. The plans in Brighton follow a warning from leading housing bodies this month that homelessness and overcrowding are getting worse amid Britain's housing shortage.

The problems come against a background of rising private sector rents and as more people are claiming housing benefit nationwide, a report by Shelter, the National Housing Federation and the Chartered Institute of Housing said.

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