Shipping Container Homes for The Homeless

Shipping containers have been used to house homeless people all across the UK and they’re now open for sale to the general public. The shipping container homes are simply homes that are built using shipping containers. They are usually new or previously used and can be shaped and positioned to suit any plot and create any style of home.

But where did the shipping container idea begin and how does it all work?

One of the first places to introduce the groundbreaking idea was Brighton back in 2013 when containers were brought in and converted into accomodation for 36 individuals with a history of homelessness.

The project located in Richardson’s yard was branded a monumental success and the scheme nicknamed “Container Village” is set to extend its stay for an extra 5 years when the original deal runs out at the end of 2018.

Elsewhere, a similar project in Bedminster, Bristol, has seen 11 containers converted into temporary homes for the homeless with fundraising underway to expand the plot located on Malago Road.

The project is a result of fantastic work from the organisation Help Bristol’s Homeless, founded by Jasper Thomas. The group are currently in the process of converting a double-decker bus into accommodation which will sleep 12 people every night.

This type of project has also taken place in London, Birmingham and Essex all with an ultimate goal to drastically reduce homelessness. But what about those who are actively looking to buy one of these container to home conversions? What are the pros and cons of these homes?


Ease of transport – There is already a worldwide system in place for moving containers around. It is simple to transport a container to the site that you own and from there it is relatively easy to set the conversion in place on a prepared foundation.

Clear cost – Most of the work to create these new homes is completed within a factory and at a fixed price. After taking into account delivery and fitting costs, you should have a clear indication of how much the new home will cost.

Recycling – Environmentally, reusing old shipping containers is beneficial. Reducing the strain on any form of disposal is helpful.


Structural issues – Shipping containers are strong at the corners and overall do offer strong structural support. However, the roofs are notorious for being the weakest part of the structure and in winter conditions are at risk of collapsing. For this reason, external roofs are always built over the existing one and any alterations requiring cutting out (e.g windows or doors) have to be reinforced heavily.

Insulation – The shape of the containers make it difficult to insulate the exterior. It can be done, and has been done on all of the containers used in homelessness prevention projects but it can be expensive.

History – It’s rare that you have the ability to find out what has previously been transported in the container that you are living in. However it is important to note that no container will be converted into a potential home if they have been used to transport hazardous industrial materials.

Here at Iceni Homes we understand the issues of homelessness as well as anybody and believe that any scheme working towards the reduction of the UK’s homelessness is something to be applauded.

We’re proud to support our friends at Emmaus Suffolk, a fantastic charity close to our hearts that work hard to eradicate homelessness across the whole of the UK by providing those in need with the opportunities that can be so hard to come by.

Find out more about what we do with Emmaus here and make sure you take a look the Emmaus website here to find out more about what they do.