Louisville Builder Uses Shipping Containers to Create Affordable Housing
Flipping shipping containers into homes is happening around the country at an incredible rate.
In Louisville, KY’s Smoketown neighborhood, a man is busy constructing a shipping container home that he hopes will be the first of many.
“They are air tight, water tight,” Richard Ronald of RJ Ronald Creative Design and Construction said. “Virtually indestructible, 9.5 feet tall, 8 feet wide, 40 feet long. We put together four of them. It makes a 1280 square foot residence.”
The shipping containers started off as home to cargo transported around the world. It can be hard to imagine that they could eventually be a place that residents call “home sweet home.”
The house he’s building will eventually be a three bedroom, one and a half bath home with an office.
“It will have a roof on it but it will be flat roof and trimmed out like a normal house painted,” Ronald said.
Also similar to normal houses, there will be walls, windows and flooring. Ronald said he’s building the house because he’s following his father’s footsteps.
He worked for his father beginning when he was nine years old. His dad focused his construction in urban neighborhoods constructing non-profit housing for the poor.
Ronald said he wants to give housing to people who can’t afford a place to live and invest in the Louisville Smoketown community.
Ronald’s father built wood framed shotgun houses to help those in need. Now 63, Ronald is continuing that mission, but these days he’s doing things a little differently.
Ronald’s plan is to use shipping containers that he bought and stationed at the corner of Logan and Breckenridge in Louisville to make a prototype house. He said once the prototype is finished, he’ll use it to show how the concept works and eventually welcome tenants to live.
Hope for Things to Come
Ronald wants to build three more shipping container homes in Louisville. The plan is to lease the homes on a sliding scale, allowing those who can’t afford a home to live in his units.
“The idea is to provide basic needs for low-income families for the lowest possible cost,” Ronald said. “People with limited means are struggling as much as ever. So what we’re trying to do is offer ownership in their community by way of home ownership.”
And these wouldn’t be small homes. Four shipping containers combined would create 1,280 square feet of space, Ronald said. The heating and air conditioning, he said, would be low-cost.
It’s idealistic, but Marcus Munford, Ronald’s neighbor, thinks the plan will succeed.
Munford has watched from next door as Ronald’s project has come together. He said it’s taken years, but he said it’s unique and could attract more people to live in Smoketown.
“It’s going to be really nice when he finishes,” Munford said. “I have a lot of respect for the man and I’m proud of what he’s doing. It might work, it might start a trend.”
Ronald expects to finish the prototype home in early fall of 2018.
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