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Shipping containers to house women in DTES

A new social housing project that would turn shipping containers into temporary homes for disadvantaged women is awaiting a green light from the City of Vancouver.

A new social housing project that would turn shipping containers into temporary homes for disadvantaged women is awaiting a green light from the City of Vancouver.

Atira Women’s Resource Society put forward the container-based housing proposal for Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside that will provide housing for homeless women or those leaving the sex trade.

City Coun. Kerry Jang said the project provides an immediate increase in housing for women that will be much cheaper than traditional units.

“Having these women, who have left the most abusive situations imaginable, back on their feet in about 18 months to two years and to have a new lease on life … for me, that’s worth every penny,” Jang said.

The six-container apartment complex — consisting of 12 suites of about 320 sq. ft. in size and each with a kitchen and full bathroom — will be located in an empty lot at Jackson Avenue and Alexander Street.

Former NPA candidate Michael Geller said one of the biggest concerns the city should address is what the units will look like.

“The less that they look like containers, the better,” said Geller, an architect. “I think most people especially disadvantaged people, while they’re be happy to have a new home, they’ll want it to look at normal as possible.”

The cost-to-conversion of a shipping container suite is $85,000 compared to about $250,000 needed to build one regular housing unit.

A report will head to city council for approval and if given the go ahead, the units will be ready for occupancy by Sept. 1.

 
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