We have had a few container homes in Canada but this is definitely the most recent. 12 Containers are being utilised to form social housing for women in the downtown Eastside of the city.
The project is looking to complete by April 2013 and is the brainchild of the Atira Women’s Resource society, which bought a lot in 2009 to build traditional housing.
The idea was put forward by the society to BC Hydro who were giving away two containers to a non-profit organisation. Which eventually seen a further two containers donated by Atira with the remainder being purchased from the Port of Vancouver.
The design has been modelled on existing shipping container homes in the Netherlands and Europe. Which to me makes sense as you learn from other peoples mistakes and experiences.
The residents will be women over the age of 55 who currently reside in a shelter.
“What we hope is to set up an intergenerational program,” Abbott said. “We have housing for young women next door and we’d like to set up mentoring relationships between them.”
The accommodation will see the older women paying $375 a month rent while younger tenants will be charged 30% of the market value to help pay the $500,000 mortgage on the project.
The containers which give a floor area of 320sqft are going to be stacked 3 high and offer private bathroom, kitchen and in-suite laundry to the tenants. Window coverings from floor to ceiling offer up a lot of light on the ends of the unit with an external staircase linking each unit.
There will be an open house on completion before the properties become occupied with an estimated $100,000 per unit in construction and material costs.
“While getting them here and getting them stacked is extremely satisfying and exciting, what I’m really looking forward to is handing over the keys to the women who will live there,” Abbott said from the site where the containers were being unloaded Friday.
On a green note if the containers hadn’t become housing they would have very likely been shipped back to Asia and eventually melted down as scrap. That’s if they didn’t sit at some port rusting away.
Shipping container houses are still a bit of a Taboo subject when people talk and think about housing but good to see the market is changing. Not only for recycling but also container housing often means downsizing the excess that people often live with. So whatever way you look at it container housing offers some valuable and environmental lessons for sustainable living.