UK: Homeless to live in shipping containers for up to five years in bid to tackle housing shortage

Artist's impression: The converted containers will provide temporary homesMirror

Homeless people will be able to move into shipping containers in a former scrap metal yard in a bid to tackle a city’s housing shortage.

The converted containers will provide temporary homes for a period of five years for 36 men and women with a history of homelessness.

Six containers are due to arrive in the New England Quarter of Brighton, East Sussex, today with a further 30 arriving by the end of the week.  

Ross Gilbert, from developers QED, said the first residents are expected to move into the containers in about five weeks’ time, turning the “exciting and innovative housing concept into reality”.

He said: “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.”


Six containers arriving in Brighton, East Sussex as shipping containers will provide temporary accommodation for people with a history of homelessness
Moving in: Shipping container arrives at site


The units were designed and constructed in Holland in 2010 by TempoHousing, Brighton Housing Trust chief executive Andy Winter said,

In a blog post on the BHT website, Mr Winter wrote that shipping containers had rarely been used as temporary living accommodation in the UK.

However, were a number of examples in continental Europe, with the most notable project in Keetwonen, Amsterdam, a development by TempoHousing of 1,000 containers which was completed in 2006 and is still in use.

When the land being used for the Brighton project is eventually redeveloped, the accommodation units could be transferred to other locations, the charity said.


Six containers arriving in Brighton, East Sussex as shipping containers will provide temporary accommodation for people with a history of homelessness
Home sweet home: 36 people will live in the containers



Mr Winter said: “This is an exciting moment in this project to provide 36 new homes for men and women in housing need.

“We have identified 21 of the first 36 residents and they are being prepared to move into their new homes.

“The residents will have completed one of BHT’s programme for change and will free up space in other services that will be able to take in men and women who are currently on the streets.

“There is an acute shortage of affordable accommodation in Brighton and Hove and, in a landlords’ market, particularly for those with a history of homelessness.

“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.”

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11 thoughts on “UK: Homeless to live in shipping containers for up to five years in bid to tackle housing shortage

  1. I have long been an advocate of reusing shipping containers for domicile use, in fact my daughters and I have long had a view to using 6 stacked and buried in an excavation to create a two floor “hobbit hole” that would be insulated, waterproof, bug proof, easy to repair or replace, living space, doors and windows easily cut out using acetylene torch or disc cutter, compare the building material costs of say a wood, brick and mortar house with the cost of six used containers and you start to see it really is a sensible option.

    We even came up with a water drainage and collection system that would collect the attracted water and using gravity and natural filtration e.g. fine sand, the moisture surrounding the underground portion of the structure would provide a fair bit of clean water as would using a collection system on a small scale akin to Gibraltar rock which is really just a set of solar stills on a mountain.

    And by setting open clay pipes from a central fire area, heating could be transmitted to all parts of the structure as it would require only the heat of a small cooking range or fire being underground, cold storage could be built into the earth at the same time, lighting could be hooked to the grid or solar panelled, the options are just endless with where you could go with this but in the UK home living housing has to be approved hence why we have never gotten past the planning stage so far 🙁

  2. interesting….
    My residence is in the state of Montana
    Here there have been earth covered homes for a long time……..somewhat the same as you are describing,,,except no used steel containers…We are a long way from the docks…to where these containers might be had….
    Also, I suspect the gov OK, is much less here than where you are speaking of…
    Thats one decent thing of this state…there are lots of freedoms yet here, mainly I think because the population is low for such a large land area….If my memory is correct Montana is the 4th largest land wise, of all the 50 states….

    1. Britain is a very crowded country, well the southern half especially, when I was growing up places like Croydon, Watford, Dartford were well outside of the London limit but now the growth is that much the city is immense and has swallowed towns outside, London is by area according to Wikipedia the largest western city yet is still dwarfed by Asian cities, you would have to visit it to appreciate how vast the city is and how much it grows every day.

      Put it this way, if there were ever a collapse I am quite happy in my rural Dorset town, next to my rural Dorset freshwater river set in the hundreds of square miles of rural Dorset arable land although I imagine you could fit many Dorset’s into Montana and still have room left over 🙂 My uncle who used to drive trucks over there said it hits us Brits really hard when we just see open land for hundreds of miles without a human soul to disturb it.

  3. well bless your soul….
    for telling me a bit about your life where you live….and the other day, here, when I got after Pries Morgan, how ever that is spelled. I should have been specific to him rather than castigating your countries people into one pot…for that is not myself at all…and i apologize if I offended any people in your country….
    The whole of earths human beings, do represent at the basics, a common thread, that if totally broken will mean the end for all of us…It becomes worth while for each of us to communicate with one-another…so that we might all live out our given…lives…from the higher power… the best of each of our own given talents……….and each of us has some of it….further, talent is where you find it………
    Good to speak to you today………

    1. No doubt many of us judge American’s on what their politicians and people in the media do, there’s good and bad in everything and we have over here about as much control over our politicians as you lot over there have, we simply don’t matter anymore except as taxpayers, vote casters and bullet catchers.

      I grew up in quite a tough London area but wouldn’t move back there if someone paid me, the air is clear and clean here, the locals not to bad, worse places to live out there 🙂

  4. In Britain we had far less personal freedom than Americans had until recently because of our dreadful class system. This affects our living space because vast tracts of our pleasant countryside are owned by the aristocracy and other wealthy, so some Brits wrongly believe we are overcrowded on this island when in fact there is plenty of space, but while the likes of Madonna owns a vast estate over here, twenty thousand workers would live on similar acreage.

    This has negative effects on housing as well as limiting people’s innovation to build their own houses because of over-regulation – which was designed to be restrictive, so the upper orders could limit their workers’ free movement in search of something better, which keeps a lid on workers earning new rights.

    1. Madonna and Guy had a place down the road from here in Tollard Royal and she hated it, the locals hated her so they moved across to a place in Wiltshire where she was equally hated, apparently she really believed in the “Upstairs Downstairs” or Downton Abbey state of affairs and fancied herself as lady of the manor and no doubt she was put in her place well and truly too.

      Lot of history here mind, King Canute got his butt kicked by Edmund Ironhand just outside town, apparently Joseph stayed with the locals on his way to Glastonbury (but from what I can understand he must have spent a hundred years getting there all the places he allegedly stayed), Alfred the Great was buried up the hill.

      1. Guy Fawkes is one of my favorite Brits.

        Th 5th is coming up, two weeks from today. I was just looking at the calender, and sure enough, Guy Fawkes Day (UK) is listed on it.

        “Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.”

        1. You have to look into V for Vendetta to see how it is unfolding, Britain the ultimate surveillance state, devolving into a one party fascist state, where the media is controlled by the security agencies and fear is the agenda driven by false flag and insecurity.

          In the film, America, an empire curtailed and checked at every move by Russia and China, finally collapses in on itself and plunges into civil and interstate war locked and blocked by continental neighbours as America tears itself to bits.

          Alan Moore not known for his prophetic capabilities no doubt hit the nail on the head as to where we are going, there is a hint of an attack on Iran in one of the historical news articles the Inspector reads referring to a strike on Istafahn and it is this ability to touch on current affairs that chills the blood a little with V for Vendetta and the overriding message too about a catalyst is all it takes to trigger and how those catalysts were used to create the dytopia and how the catalyst became the rallying call for the people when the security services murdered the young girl.

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