New homeless project encourages rough sleeping people to create their own homes using Converted Shipping containers and they are quite luxurious inside too!
An empty and unused shipping container would usually be waste for scrap. Not so in Bristol! 58 year old restaurant owner Jasper Thompson decided to ‘do something more to help Bristol’s homeless’. He officially opened a shipping container that he has converted into a temporary home for people sleeping rough.
Jasper Thompson showed local councillors around the container home. It has been named ‘Carl’s Haven’, a luxurious home complete with a bed, electricity, an en-suite shower, a toilet and a small kitchen. He basically converted the old empty shipping container into a luxury apartment in Bristol. Nothing like any ordinary makeshift housing, this is fully furnished with electricity, running water and everything you would expect.
Shipping containers are more commonly used for trendy restaurants, cafes, shops and expensive homes. However transforming them for the homeless is still rare. Mr Thompson said he wants to expand the project to house the homeless on several sites around Bristol.
Mr Thompson went on to say the key to ‘Help Bristol’s Homeless’ project was getting the homeless people themselves to work together. He also said he’d often helped the homeless in the past with donations and volunteering with other charities. This time he decided to do something more substantial after finding a man sleeping rough outside his local supermarket.
Mr Thompson said :
I’ve done fundraising, donated stuff and volunteered so this is not a fad, but I realised the way forward was shipping containers.
I know a lot of people in Bristol and called in a lot of favours and tapped a lot of people up and the response in the last few months has been amazing.
The project kicked off when Mr Thompson got the agreement of the owner of a large empty site on Malago Road in Bristol. He then installed a donated caravan and allowed a group of five homeless people to move in. Mr Thompson then teamed up with the homeless people and other volunteers to convert a shipping container in to a liveable home. They were joined by local tradesmen who trained the homeless men in new skills.
All the fixtures, fittings and furniture was donated, even the arty prints of Bristol for the walls.
Said Mr Thompson:
We’ve even got Mitsubishi on board now, and they are talking about installing solar panels on it to provide electricity. Bristol University want to get involved too. It’s been a whole community effort, and the most important thing is that the homeless people who are here are the ones leading the project. It’s about everyone working together, learning trades and people pulling each other up.
The result is a stunning bright yellow metal box on a wooden base. It has neat potted plants outside the front door. Unfortunately though, the site of the home is temporary due to looming planning permissions on the land. The Bristol shelter is not dissimilar to the temporary homes built for refugees by IKEA.
Jasper said he called in favours from family and friends who helped – at no cost, as everything was donated. He said:
It’s been a whole community effort, and the most important thing is that the homeless people who are here are the ones leading the project. It’s about everyone working together, learning trades and people pulling each other up. We’re registering as a social enterprise, we’d love to see this work and roll more places out there. We’ve shown what can be done with a bit of energy and support.
He said car manufacturer Mitsubishi expressed an interest in installing solar panels on the roof, and the city’s university also got in touch.
Jasper’s project, Help Bristol’s Homeless, is seeking backing from the city council. He said he would love to have a permanent piece of land to expand the idea with ten shelters occupied by one person each. He also wants to make sure the support was done properly.
I want to get a really long shipping container and convert it into a kitchens and workshop, and that can be the base to do many more. The extent to this could be endless. It’s easy, it’s relatively cheap and it can make a difference.
Mr Thompson added:
Everyone has to be safe and they have to be vetted, but we will make sure they are supported. If they are on a programme for addiction, we’ll make sure they keep doing that. St Mungo’s and those organisations have the skill-set to see people initially, we want to be the step up. People will only leave here when they are fit and ready to, and we’ve already had one lad who’s gone on to live in a secure, private rented home.