Shipping containers could be recycled into homes for the homeless

By KBJR News 1

March 18, 2014 Updated Mar 18, 2014 at 9:54 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) ---If a lot of questions can be answered, Duluth could be using a very unique method to tackle its homeless problem in the coming year.

Many gathered to learn more about a concept that could revolutionize the lives of many homeless people in Duluth.

"We're looking at taking a storage container or storage containers, plural, and build housing out of them and it's being done all over the world." said Rick Klun of Center City Housing.

The storage containers are used to ship products around the world.
Often they are too expensive to ship back to their owners, but supporters of the proposal say turning them into homes could be the perfect method for recycling the massive containers.

"We'll be paying between one thousand and five thousand for each of those containers and then we'll build it out using volunteer labor. We hope to hold the price under 30 thousand dollars per unit." said Klun.

The units will be just like any home, complete with doors, windows, running water and electricity but right now many details are still being hammered out by architects.

"Part of the design process is to explore a whole from theoretical; whimsical to the very practical, but the idea is that they're a self-contained living unit. You know, for living, eating, cooking and bathing." said Doug Zaun of Wagner Zaun Architecture.

The planning process should span four to six weeks and then a prototype will be built.

"When everything is said and done, we're going to use it as a prototype and we'll have homeless people, one at a time, live in the container housing and then critique it and help us decide if we should go forward with building more of them." said Klun.

There are hopes that many of these converted homes be turned into micro neighborhoods. Many advocates for helping the homeless agree this could be a game changer.

"I think this is a really key idea and a really interesting and practical solution to the homeless problem in Duluth and I'm very hopeful." said city councilor, Sharla Gardner

There are still many issues to hammer out before a micro-neighborhood can be created...but supporters say it can be done.
Thinking outside of the box to provide people a home inside of the box.

Center City Housing hopes to begin constructing the prototype for the storage container homes by mid-May of this year.