Combating Homelessness, Creating Opportunities, Promoting Change

Shipping Containers Provide Temporary Accommodation

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Brighton Housing Trust, working with developers QED, the developers of Brighton’s New England Quarter, have come up with an exciting proposal that would see temporary accommodation for 36 men and women in the City in two blocks of adapted shipping containers at a town centre site.

The units were designed and constructed in Holland in 2010 by TempoHousing specifically for a social housing project in Amsterdam that failed to materialise due to funding difficulties. The units are available at a discounted rate which adds to the financial viability of this proposal.

If successful, this formula could be a very effective way of helping to alleviate the housing crisis in Brighton, by providing ‘transition housing’ on a site that would otherwise be underutilised until a major development came forward which is not likely to happen for a number of years, given the current economic climate.

Chris Gilbert of QED

Given the desperate situation regarding housing in Brighton and Hove, imaginative solutions are required.

Subject to planners not holding us up on a temporary consent, we hope the accommodation will be available by the late spring of 2013.

Shipping containers have rarely been used as temporary living accommodation in the United Kingdom but there are a number of examples in continental Europe. The most notable project is in Keetwonen, Amsterdam, a development by TempoHousing of 1000 containers using exactly the same internal design layout as the ones we are proposing to use. It was completed in 2006 and is still in use today.

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.

At the point when the site is to be redeveloped, the accommodation units can be transferred to other locations, be they in the City or elsewhere. This appears to me to be very attractive from a sustainability perspective. What could be more sustainable than reusing an existing shipping container, converted in a bespoke factory in Europe into a modular transportable and reusable temporary housing unit?

Some people might not like the idea, but I bet you that the thirty six men and women who will live in this accommodation will not be amongst them.

Andy Winter, BHT Chief Executive

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