Housing

Call for shipping containers to house people living in tents

Business leader suggests shipping containers could help with the homelessness crisis in Wrexham, where rough sleepers are living in a tent encampment

The rise of an encampment of tents set up by homeless people in the Welsh town of Wrexham has provoked both concern and consternation.

The “shanty town” that has grown in recent weeks on the grounds of an old school has forced council bosses to put a portable toilet on the site.

One business leader believes he may have a better option for rough sleepers in the area: shipping container homes.

We need to make sure their basic needs are dealt with

Nigel Lewis, Chairman of Wrexham Town Centre Forum, said containers would be a safer and more humane way of providing for the rising numbers of rough sleepers in north Wales.

“We need to make sure their basic needs are dealt with like having shelter, a shower and a toilet and somewhere where they feel safe,” he told The Daily Post.

The industrial units have become an increasingly fashionable way of providing emergency accommodation.

The Big Issue has previously highlighted the work of the Brighton Housing Trust, an organisation that has created a small village of 36 shipping containers converted into studios (picture above). They are still being used as “move on” homes for people who have struggled with homelessness.

And Ealing Council placed a group of homeless people in 34 repurposed shipping containers in a quiet lane of the west London suburb (pictured above).

I think shipping containers are excellent way of doing low-cost housing

Earlier this year, we also spoke to the Bristol café owner who had called in favours from friends and local tradesman to convert one container into a nifty one-bedroom flat.

Jasper Thompson wants to convert 10 more and has been working with the council to find a suitable site.

“I’m not an architect, but I think shipping containers are excellent way of doing low-cost housing,” he said. “They’re durable and flexible too – you can cut the side off one and combine it with another to create a larger home.”

And now a Christian charity in south Wales, Amazing Grace Spaces, has plans to create a low-rent community of shipping container homes, having created a “show home” project in Newport.

The difficulty obtaining land or the right to use it for any length of time remains daunting for all of these groups, regardless of flexibility in building materials.

And yet the intensity of the nation’s housing crisis make all ideas that offer quick-to-deliver accommodation hugely welcome.

Rough sleepers remain on the rise in many towns and cities, and the longer people are left living on the streets, the harder it becomes to address addiction issues and mental health problems.

One local charity called Help Wrexham’s Homeless has been taking food, clothes and other supplies to help people living in the encampment just outside the town centre.

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