The exterior of one of the units (Photo: CBC)
Vancouver just became home to Canada's first social housing development built from recycled shipping containers.
12 living units were unveiled Friday on Alexander Street near Jackson Avenue in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) neighbourhood.
The homes were built by the Atira Women's Resource Society, and as of September 1, all 12 units will be occupied by women from the area.
Some of the units will go to women over the age of 55, who will pay $375 in rent. The rest will be rented to younger women at about 30 per cent of market rent, CBC News reports.
Atira CEO Janice Abbott told CBC that the older tenants must have roots in the community, must have been addiction free for the past three years, and must be willing to mentor the young women who will live next door at Imouto Housing for Young Women.
The new homes were built from 320-square foot containers that once carried goods across the ocean from Asia. They were modified to become living spaces at a shipyard in Richmond, B.C.
Three containers were stacked to create each home. The units are 290 square feet, with each one containing a private bathroom, kitchen, and in-suite laundry.
Each of the homes cost $82,500 to build, compared with about $220,000 a unit for a conventional concrete housing project Atira recently completed elsewhere in Vancouver, The Province reports.
The full cost of the Alexander Street project, which also includes the restoration of the 16-unit Imouto Housing building, was $3.3 million. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. paid $2.6 million and the City of Vancouver contributed $92,000.
The interior of a unit (Photo: CBC)
City council first discussed the idea of shipping container housing four years ago. Similar projects have been built in Europe, but these are the first ever in Canada.
To see some examples of similar projects in Europe, check out this National Geographic slideshow of container housing in Amsterdam.
Via CBC News