CCR Issue 9.23

Page 80

Welcome Home Turning shipping containers into affordable housing By Tom Jaleski


shortage of affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges faced by communities today. Nearly four

million new homes worldwide are needed to keep up with population growth. One emerging solution is to use modular buildings, which offer a range of benefits, including affordability, sustainability and ease of shipment worldwide.

According to the Modular Building Institute, modular buildings account for about 6% of all new construction today, and this is expected to increase at a compounded annual growth rate of 7% by 2030. Currently, the primary use of permanent modular construction is housing, which works well to provide for the privacy and life safety needs of residents. The 7th Street Lofts by Relevant Buildings, located in downtown St. Helens, Oregon, is a prime example of how modular construction can provide affordable housing in an urban setting. With a focus on using shipping containers to build low-cost, sustainable urban and rural housing, Relevant Buildings pushed the 7th Street Lofts project as a test case for providing affordable housing to a community in need. The new owners would be in town, with close access to work and shopping. Relevant Buildings was able to realize its vision of homeownership for low-income families by working closely with the community, city, and state and local authorities to construct this eight-unit condo building. Once the land was found and developed, a factory-made structure was shipped to the site, placed on a foundation, hooked up to infrastructure, received balcony additions and opened as affordable housing.



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