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Ship-shape housing

November 06 2013
Home sweet home. © Brighton Houing Trust 2013 Home sweet home. © Brighton Houing Trust 2013
Shipping containers a novel new solution to Brighton‘s homelessness crisis


A housing association in Brighton has come up an innovative solution for housing the rising number of rough sleepers in the city.

Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) is developing 36 studio flats from shipping containers, which arrived from Amsterdam earlier this month.

The steel containers were designed and constructed in Holland for a social housing project in Amsterdam that foundered due to funding difficulties. They were made available to the trust at a discount as a result.

Over the next month a green roof, stairwells and external walkways will be added to the container-based construction.

Each of the 36 men and women, who are due to move in next month, will have their own kitchen, bathroom and front door.

BHT chief executive Andy Winter told the Daily Express that the containers would help address “the acute shortage of affordable accommodation in Brighton and Hove”.

The number of street homeless people in the city has increased from 37 in November 2011 to 43 in November 2012. However, there is a wide consensus that the actual figure is more likely to be between 70 and 100.

The site in the New England Quarter, near Brighton Station, had been vacant and was once a scrap metal yard.

The new residents will have undertaken one of the Trust’s life skills projects. By allowing these men and women somewhere to move to, BHT claims it will also be freeing up space in other services able to help people currently on the streets.

However, some may brand this a quick fix with a lease of five years agreed before the land, a former brown site, undergoes further regeneration. The Trust argues the units can then be moved to other sites.

Ross Gilbert, of QED, BHT’s development partner said: “We expect residents to be moving in about five weeks after the arrival of the first container on site and turn this exciting and innovative housing concept into reality.

“Our temporary use of land earmarked for future regeneration demonstrates just what can be done in the interim to help solve the acute housing shortage.”

A spokesperson for Homeless Link said: “The Brighton Housing Trust should be praised for coming up with an imaginative, short-term solution to the housing crisis. They will give people somewhere safe to live while they get their lives back on track. However, in the long-run we need action to build more homes.”

What you do think? Would you be happy to swap hostel life for a shipping container pad? Tell us: