Benefits of Upcycling Shipping Containers for Housing for Disaster Relief

by David Northmore

Converting shipping containers into temporary or permanent housing have become an extremely popular trend among the eco-friendly and minimalist groups. Shipping container houses are strong, convenient and economically friendly housing options and they are just more than creative and unique housing solutions. As natural disasters effect the world, more people are searching for effective ways to help victims. Shipping container homes are becoming an increasingly popular option for disaster relief. In 2010, an organization called SEED proposed a disaster relief plan to use shipping containers for housing following the earthquake in Haiti. While the plan did not follow through, the idea of using shipping containers for disaster relief did not stop there. In 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new initiative to test shipping container homes for post-disaster housing, following Hurricane Sandy. Shipping container homes are economical and durable temporary housing solutions for disaster victims.


The effects of a natural disaster often last much longer than the actual disaster itself. Whenever a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, hurricane, tsunami or tornado strikes, hundreds and thousands of residents are often left homeless. For weeks and sometimes, months, governments are in crisis mode trying to find safe housing solutions for the displaced individuals and families who have lost their homes. More and more leaders are turning to shipping containers as housing after disaster relief because of they are high quality, convenient and economical. There are many benefits to up cycling shipping containers for housing for disaster relief.


Strong & Safe

The biggest benefit to up cycling shipping containers for housing for disaster relief is that they are incredibly strong and safe. Shipping containers were constructed to outlast any type of natural elements. Many individuals choose to live in shipping containers as opposed to home because they are so strong. Shipping containers are usually built out of high quality steel so they are often typically stronger than wooden frames. They are sturdy and durable, able to outlast heavy winds and rains. No matter what post-disaster weather. Shipping containers are built to resist water, mold and insects or vermin and can easily be insulted and temperature controlled, making them a safe and comfortable living place.


Because of their strength shipping containers, are better options than other temporary housing such as tents, wooden dwellings or group sites where hundreds of people are forced to live together. With a shipping container, a family can live safely, comfortably and privately during disaster relief.



Easy to Transport

After a disaster, it is incredibly important that relief organizations and governments facilitate a quick response. Relief needs to be immediate and shipping containers allow for this fast response because they are so easy to transport and move. A shipping container can be easily moved on trucks, rail, ships or by plane and can be transported to even the most remote of disaster areas.


There is no need to wait for construction or even for roads to be cleared when shipping containers are used as temporary solutions. Shipping containers are also stackable so disaster relief organizations or government agencies can transport many shipping containers to an effected area quickly and conveniently.


By using shipping containers, organizations and governments can be prepared before a disaster. The shipping container homes can be built with full features and ready to ship before a disaster even strikes, allowing for a quick transport and set up following the disaster. This immediate solution can be extremely helpful for speeding up recovery and rebuilding following a disaster.



Convenient & Versatile

Shipping containers can fit almost anywhere. You can fit shipping container homes in a spare parking lot, in an empty field, on a beach or outside of the city limits. They will fit into any location and will be just a secure and safe, no matter where they are! No matter where you need to set up a shipping container home, you can do so easily. Shipping containers can be stacked on top of one another to maximize space and they can be modified in any number of ways to meet the needs of the community and area. Beyond housing, shipping containers can be used as clinics, military posts, police posts or emergency response meeting spaces.


Shipping containers for housing post-disasters are becoming more of a possibility as organizations and local governments attempt to prepare for natural disasters before they occur. These affordable, sturdy and convenient spaces will keep disaster victims safe and protected during recovery efforts.