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Shipping containers repurposed for Banff affordable housing complex

The YWCA in Banff is turning recycled shipping containers into 33 affordable homes.

Project will provide 33 housing units for low-income residents of mountain town

Officials had a ceremonial groundbreaking on Wednesday for the YWCA Courtyard Project, which will boost the number of affordable housing units in Banff. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

The YWCA in Banff is turning recycled shipping containers into 33 affordable homes.

Officials broke ground Wednesday on the YWCA Banff Courtyard project, which will provide affordable housing for low-income Banff residents.

"This sustainable project, made from shipping containers, will also be cost-effective for tenants and the housing provider, thanks to its net-zero energy footprint," said a release from the province, which is contributing $2.6 million toward the project. 

An artist's rendering of the future 33-unit affordable housing complex being developed by YWCA Banff. (YWCA Banff )

The federal government committed to $1.35 million through the National Housing Strategy's Housing Innovation Fund.

The total cost is expected to be about $7 million.

Project manager Stephen Crotty says 60 per cent of the people who live in the community make minimum wage.

"We think that this project is going to demonstrate and work in union with us helping to solve the housing crisis that Banff has had for over 100 years," he said. 

The new housing is being built adjacent to the YWCA's existing buildings on Spray Avenue. 

The organization already provides accommodation for 103 people in the town.

"The YWCA Courtyard project is an opportunity to expand the inventory of affordable rental housing in Banff. Our goal is to create a thriving neighbourhood by offering suitable, affordable housing and relevant supports that together foster a sense of belonging, security and community pride."

Tenants will also have access to programs offered by YWCA Banff.

The project is scheduled to be finished by October 2021.

The project proponents say it will help create more than 50 jobs.

With files from Terri Trembath

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