Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's First Shipping Container Housing Project Being Built in Vancouver

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's First Shipping Container Housing Project Being Built in Vancouver

Article excerpt

Shipping container homes a first in Canada

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VANCOUVER - Shipping containers that likely would have been left to rust in Vancouver will instead be used to construct a housing project that's the first of its kind in Canada.

Twelve containers will be converted into social and affordable housing for women in the city's Downtown Eastside, where construction got underway Friday.

The project that's slated to be completed by next April was developed by the Atira Women's Resource society, which bought a lot in 2009 to build traditional housing.

Atira CEO Janice Abbott said plans changed the following year when the society submitted a winning proposal to BC Hydro, which was giving away two shipping containers to a non-profit group.

Two more shipping containers were donated, and Atira bought another eight from the Port of Vancouver to build the project that's modelled on similar ones in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe.

Abbott said six of the 12 units will be occupied by women who are over age 55 and currently living in a shelter or a single-room occupancy hotel.

"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 older women will pay $375 a month in rent while younger women in the remaining units will be charged about 30 per cent of market rent to help with the $500,000 mortgage for the building, Abbott said

The 320-square-foot containers would be stacked three high and each would have a private bathroom, kitchen and in-suite laundry. Floor-to-ceiling windows would be at each end and each floor would be linked by an external staircase.

The shipping containers once carried goods across the ocean from Asia and have been modified at a Richmond, B.C., shipyard.

Atira is planning a week-long open house for the public before the units, costing $100,000 each, are expected to be occupied on April 1. …

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