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Manatee County Looks to Shipping Containers as Affordable Housing Solution

Using shipping containers as homes is a popular concept all over the world, leading to some imaginative pieces of architecture. One county in Florida is considering using shipping containers to build low-cost housing. Last month, Glen Gibellina, a retired contractor, made a pitch to Manatee County’s Attainable Housing Taskforce to begin "converting steel shipping containers into small but highly durable, moderately priced homes."  

He has been working with students of the local high school to construct models for these homes, hoping to spark interest in some of them to become contractors after they graduate to join the initiative to build shipping container homes.

Gibellina is also looking into working with the inmates at the local prison who take a welding class and helping them secure jobs based on their newfound welding skills when they are released.

Shipping Container Studio Homes

One of his 160-square foot studio homes, which is in a 20-foot long, 8-foot-wide shipping container, is priced at $35,000; he wants to make another model that does not have any frills that may cost even less. Gibellina says that in order to keep the prices low, they will need to buy material and appliances in bulk.

The model that Gibellina brought with him for the pitch uses every inch of space available. It has LED exterior lighting, a fiberglass shower, a compact refrigerator, and more. It also features cabinets, a drop-down desk, and a vanity from IKEA.

Originally Gibellina had planned to make these containers into Airbnbs, but then he learned how many students in the area were homeless. In the 2016-17 school year, over 72,000 students in public school were homeless at some point, and 2,000 of them were in Manatee County. Once he heard that number, Gibellina’s plans changed.

"I was shocked that we live in one of the richest counties in the state, but everybody sticks their head in the sand," Gibellina said. "The 2,000 homeless are just the ones we know about. Think about the single moms sleeping in their car. You think they're going to tell the county their kid's homeless? Child Protective Services would be up their ass snatching that kid."

Container One Shipping Containers

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Author: Auz Burger