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Shipping containers become homes for homeless

CONTAINED LIVING: Shipping containers have been converted into accommodation

HOMELESS PEOPLE in east London could be housed in accommodation that once travelled the world’s oceans storing commercial shipping cargo.

Plans are being devised to convert shipping containers into living quarters that would enable people to save up for a permanent home.

Each container costs £20,000, and a resident is expected to pay around £75 per week in rent, which is 30 per cent of the minimum wage.

The project is being run by charity Forest YMCA, which views the temporary accommodation as a “stepping stone” for young people looking to support themselves.

The charity is requesting no deposit, and aims to pay for the containers through a combination of government funding and donations.

There are currently 120 people on the list for the converted containers, which have been trialled for nine months by the charity in a car park.

Targeted sites for the container homes are in Leytonstone and Walthamstow.

Forest YMCA’s chief executive Tim Pain believes young people face barriers that are too large to overcome when looking for a job and home.

“At the moment the steps are too big,” Pain told the BBC.

“We're great at getting people into education, employment and training but hopeless at getting them into affordable accommodation because it simply doesn't exist.

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

“They come into a hostel, make progress, move out and come back again”, he added.

One young person who has benefitted from the charity’s work is Kino Hines, who said the containers offered better and cheaper accommodation than he has experienced.

Hines has struggled to find housing, having been rejected by estate agents because his earnings did not meet the minimum requirement.

“It puts you down a bit [and] lowers your self esteem,” Hines told the BBC.

“Because I have work I don't qualify for council housing.”

Commenting about the containers, he added: “I think they are ideal and quite modern. If I'd had the opportunity when I first got employment I would have considered living in one of them.

“It's got all the essentials, it's self contained and it's a nice little location.”

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