Shipping containers have found a use in the off grid community as extra space, or even cabins/homes. They can be used almost as modular style housing after some proper bracing, some cutting and welding. The steel construction means that they are durable, and there is no shortage of available containers just sitting at the various ports and shipping facilities across the nation. There are numerous examples of what can be done with these containers, and how after they are completed, you would be hard pressed to guess that the house you are looking at started its life as a shipping container to begin with. So I suppose it should come as no surprise that they are now being looked at a possible solution to homelessness, especially among our veterans.
In Orange County CA, where they have tried several different methods to at least temporarily shelter the homeless, one local non-profit, American Family Housing, has turned to utilizing the shipping containers to start constructing apartments for homeless veterans. These container apartment complexes are intended to be permanent housing solutions, which is a huge step up from previous attempts such as tent cities and geodesic domes. As those in the off grid community are aware, these containers can be turned into comfortable and durable housing that can withstand most weather, but especially the weather of southern California.
They are already working on a 16 unit complex and are expected to have it completed by December, which will be about a 6 month period from concept to completion, which is incredibly fast for a 16 unit apartment complex. The quick turnaround time is another appealing aspect of using shipping containers as a shelter. Shipping containers have been used as housing and office space by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, so they are a tried and true form of shelter, one that is proving more and more alluring in a variety of situations and to those looking to live off grid.