A slew of converted shipping containers are expected to help ease a growing homelessness epidemic in cities across England. The number of homeless youth has tripled in the UK in the last few years, prompting groups like Charity Forest YMCA and Brighton Homeless Trust to convert shipping containers into affordable housing. The cargotecture homes are designed to serve as stepping stones for youths trying to re-enter the work force.

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In Brighton, 36 shipping container homes will be allocated to homeless men and women who have a “local connection to the city,” the BBC reports.

The containers have been stacked in three and five storey apartment complexes linked with balconies and reached by rudimentary external stairs. The planning commission has only granted a five year planning permit since the land on which the containers are currently placed – in a parking lot used as a scrap yard – is not considered appropriate for long term housing.

Meanwhile, Forest YMCA is waiting for permission to install £20,000 converted shipping container homes on sites in Leytonstone and Walthamstow, according to a separate BBC report. Rent for these will be £75 per week, which amounts to 15 percent of minimum wage salaries, and 120 people are on the waiting list.

Chief executive of Forest YMCA told the BBC that their group helps homeless youth find education opportunities and employment but then they can’t afford to get into affordable accommodation because “it simply doesn’t exist.”

“Most young people end up sofa surfing, living with friends and moving around different places,” he said, “or they end up in a hostel so we have the revolving door of youth homelessness.”

These simple repurposed homes equipped with all basic necessities are expected to disrupt that vicious cycle.


All images via Forest YMCA