Today’s Solutions: December 05, 2021

Los Angeles County has an estimated 66,000 homeless individuals, but a new initiative is helping some find housing from an unexpected source: old shipping containers. 

Recycled shipping containers can be transformed into livable spaces surprisingly quickly. Each container in the seven-unit complex has one bathroom, a kitchen, and a small front room.

The initiative is a collaboration between The People Concern, a homeless services agency, and Flyaway Homes. An onsite social worker helps connect tenants in need with newly-finished units. Given the success of the first complex, the organizations are working on completing four more throughout Los Angeles. 

Flyaway Homes’ Chief Operating Officer Kevin Hirai told CNN, “We recognize a solution is building enough permanent supportive housing rapidly at an affordable cost in order to make a difference.” The next complex, currently under construction, will include 16 two-bedroom units that house up to 33 people. 

The appeal of recycled shipping containers is not only their low cost but also their versatility. The containers can be easily moved and even stacked to adapt to tenant and community needs. The project is being funded with a $1 million grant from Los Angeles County, nearly $20 million from the city of Los Angeles, and additional private funding. 

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