Now it’s no secret that we’re in a housing crisis and the numbers of those sleeping rough or at risk of homelessness are rising. There have been two main solutions pushed – shipping container homes and meanwhile housing. But what’s the best solution?
Shipping Container Homes
Innovative plans have been submitted to Manchester City Council to transform shipping containers into new temporary homes for rough-sleepers. Homeless charity, Embassy, plans to build 40 modular homes forming a new village on a derelict city centre site. This scheme is set to help vulnerable people get back on their feet by giving them a roof over their head, extra support and life-skills. Their long-term plan is to help residents find full-time work. Eventually moving on to more permanent homes.
The Embassy Village, if approved, will be built on a derelict site below the railway arches between the Bridgewater Canal and River Irwell. It would also include a village hall and a communal outdoor space for sport, socialising and other activities like gardening. Any potential residents will be ‘triaged’ identifying those willing to take up the opportunities of training, housing and routes into work. A lot of homeless people spend years going from shelter to shelter waiting for something more permanent and often don’t get help or support.
Shipping containers are durable, eco-friendly and save on costs. They’ve also helped councils across England solve immediate housing issues. A report from the Children’s Commissioner for England has found that this is an increasingly popular way to provide emergency housing. But it also found that a lot of these homes weren’t designed with children in mind.
For families, the size of these homes is an issue. They’re only temporary but for some it has felt like a prison because of overcrowding. There is barely enough space to live let alone have any sort of privacy. Noise also travels across the containers too. So if they’re stacked above one another, people are kept awake. The poor design also means that some of these containers are blisteringly hot in summer and freezing in winter. Making it difficult for people to feel comfortable.
‘Meanwhile housing’ is where temporary housing is built on vacant land until it’s needed for other purposes. It’s actively encouraged to help move families out of poor temporary housing and into more affordable, beautiful looking homes. We build these homes offsite, and make sure that they’re suitable for both temporary and lifetime living.
Unlike the criticised shipping container homes, these homes all meet National Space Standards. Our high-quality meanwhile homes maximise space with fitted furniture and appliances. While providing bright, open spaces for people to live in. They also create a well insulated living environment, helping to regulate the temperatures so people aren’t left sweltering in summer and freezing in winter.
Our ‘meanwhile home’ offering is also energy efficient. Not only saving residents money on annual energy bills but also providing good acoustic performance with minimal noise transfer. We’re also able to provide ample green space for people to get outside, socialise or just get some fresh air.
What’s the best option?
Well it’s not a tough call. Shipping containers may have been fine as a temporary measure but our ‘meanwhile housing’ offering definitely beats it in terms of design. We want to make sure that even though people are only in the home for a short time, they’re comfortable and improve wellbeing. This has been taken up by several councils across England and we hope to work with more and provide a more suitable solution for the homelessness and housing crises.