Wednesday 16 January 2019

20ft by 7ft - the shipping container that could be used to tackle homeless crisis

THESE are the converted containers that are being proposed as a solution to the escalating homelessness crisis in Dublin.

The model, presented by fledgling organisation First Base, depicts a 20ft by 7ft refurbished shipping container.

Shipping containers are more durable than prefab housing according to the group. It has a bedroom, a kitchen and a small toilet and would be suitable to house one person. It would cost €12,000-€15,000 to build a one-person container.

First Base hopes to draft volunteers in to help with the building of the units, including homeless people themselves.


The group has already brought their design to Lord Mayor Christy Burke, who referred them to Cllr Criona Ni Dhalaigh.

The Sinn Fein councillor sits on the Housing Committee in Dublin City Council. Martin Critten, the CEO of First Base, believes that the temporary accommodation could be the answer to the issue of around 150 people sleeping rough every night in the capital.

Meanwhile, the city's emergency accommodation service, which allocates hotel rooms for those who present as homeless, is "operating at capacity" according to a spokesperson. The First Base team are hoping to get support from the council for their vision and are working on a detailed submission. Earlier this week, Dick Brady (inset below), assistant chief executive and head of housing in Dublin City Council, admitted that the council were seriously considering prefab accommodation for homeless people.

"I'm talking about some form of cellular accommodation on vacant sites: prefabs," he said. The suggestion has caused a mixed reaction from both politicians and homelessness charities, with many concerned that it would lead to ghettoisation. It is not yet known where the proposed prefabs will be erected.


However, First Base is intent on championing this type of 'cellular accommodation' but has admitted that the group is in its early days of working out the finer details. They envision using disused lots on government land to host a number of the short term homes.

"I have written to everyone from Simon Coveney for land in army barracks to Leo Varadker for land in psychiatric hospitals," Mr Critten told the Herald. "The response has been breathtakingly slow," he added.

In a document outlining the broad strokes of the organisation's plan, the support of the council is noted as a first step in realising their goals.


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