SoCal company converting shipping containers to house homeless vets

Right now, on a piece of real estate in the 15,100 block of Jackson Street, an apartment building is going up.

When completed it will house 15 homeless veterans and an apartment manager. The apartments in Midway City, not far from Westminster, will include kitchens, living areas, bathrooms and even a big screen TV.

Sounds pretty average right? Wrong!

They are made from shipping containers -- or those big, box-like carriers on the back of big-rigs used for shipping cargo from overseas.

It takes three containers to make one apartment, but according to Steve Harding with nonprofit American Family Housing, there are a lot of containers available that could be converted to help the homeless.

"With the trade disparity between the United States and China, we have a huge surplus of containers that the Chinese frankly don't want back," Harding explained. "It costs $800 to manufacture one. It costs more than that to ship them back."

The container-turned-homes are not free. If a vet can't pay, there are benefits and donations the nonprofit raises that can help cover the costs.

If they can work, a percentage of their earnings will be used toward their rent.

Unfortunately, not many will be able to take advantage of the new homes. They are for one person each, or just 15 veterans. Harding hopes this is just the beginning.

As for the construction project, there are 27 containers in place and 27 more are expected to be delivered in Mid-October for a second floor.

Move-in is expected sometime in January. American Family Housing is not releasing any information yet on the cost of the project or what the rents might be.

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