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Plan to use shipping containers to house homeless

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A rendering of the proposed new housing at the Salvation Army

Refurbished shipping containers could create another 28 emergency housing units at the Salvation Army shelter this year.

According to a planning application submitted last week, the Bermuda Housing Corporation hopes to install two new buildings at the North Street, Pembroke shelter as part of the first phase of a revitalisation project.

Refurbished shipping containers will be used as the base of the project, which will be fortified by the BHC to ensure safety during hurricanes.

Both of the two storey buildings – to be erected on the northeast portion of the property – will be made up of 10 shipping containers and hold 14 bedrooms.

Work on a second phase – a new common building and offices – are also hoped to begin this year and reach completion in 2022.

A third phase would include another 30 semi-enclosed sleeping quarters and other improvements to the property.

Work on the third phase is hoped to begin next year and conclude in 2024.

The application said the phased approach was taken to ensure the viability of the project in a “less than stable” economic environment.

A BHC document said: “The initial concept was presented to the Department of Planning in 2020 for an introduction and guidance.

“Shortly after the presentation the island unfortunately entered in a ’Covid‐19 Lockdown’. Nonetheless, research and design continued.

“The goal was to look at this modern alternative architecture to reduce costs per bed whilst elevating the quality of life on/at the Salvation Army Shelter’s campus.”

The application noted that of the 28 quarters included in the first phase of development, two have been designed with adequate clearances for those with disabilities, including wheelchair access.

Accessible bathroom facilities and showers will also be included at ground level.

The application also pledged that the BHC would enhance the strength of the containers to allow them to remain in use during hurricanes.

The documents said: “Both shear strength and impact forces will be elevated to meet the level of safety.

“Windows and doors assemblies shall also meet hurricane force requirements. Smoke detection, steel doors, exit lighting/signage (battery back-ups) and fire extinguishers all form a part of the proposed assembly.

“Exhaust/moisture/humidity fans are to be equipped throughout to modulate smells, humidity, moisture, and promote the circulation of fresh air.”

Enhancements to the Salvation Army shelter have been discussed for more than a decade.

The buildings were erected in 1982 as a temporary fix.

It was announced last year that the Government, Jim Butterfield and Kirk Kitson had funded $200,000 worth of renovations to several buildings at the shelter in advance of the erection of new buildings on the site.

Keino Furbert-Jacobs, project manager, said at that time the first new building on the site would be two storeys tall and include 12 rooms for clients.

A series of renderings of the proposed new housing units at the Salvation Army.

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Published April 06, 2021 at 11:39 am (Updated April 06, 2021 at 11:39 am)

Plan to use shipping containers to house homeless

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