At the end of 2017, approximately 111 million people called apartments home in the United States. While many people choose to rent due to its affordability, some are still unable to manage the associated costs.
Boise, Idaho, has been struggling with just that problem; a severe housing shortage (in 2015, the city announced that it would need to construct 10,000 homes in the coming decade to keep up with population growth) combined with low-income residents has resulted in a desperate situation for many Idahoans. To combat both of LEAP Charities, a Boise-based nonprofit that assists community members in need of affordable housing, decided to get to work constructing a shipping container community.
As of May 28, the shipping container development — named Windy Court — became officially move-in ready. Nichole Hoynacki was one of the first residents to bring her family in; after suffering a stroke in 2017 that brought financial hardships into her life, she and her children were forced to live under three separate roofs.
“We lost the place we called home, moving from one creative solution to another, none of them being ideal because I couldn’t have all of my children with me,” Hoynacki said.
“Being here is just that reunification of that mother and child and we couldn’t be more excited. This is like winning the lottery.”
The containers are repurposed and made into homes over a 28-day period; each one is 960 square feet, has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and only costs $843 a month — including utilities. Considering the fact that steel shipping containers last an average of 25 years with minimal maintenance, they are an ideal material for such a community.
“When we’re thinking about new construction, we’re thinking about creating something durable,” said LEAP Executive Director Bart Cochran about the shipping containers. “Residents are going to live in these units. There’s going to be wear and tear, so how do you make the longest-lasting construction you possibly can that holds aesthetic value?”
every unit has a microwave, stove, oven, dishwasher, washer and dryer, as well as two parking spaces, one of which is covered. The plots themselves have been xeriscaped (which reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation) and are considered to be eco-friendly. Windy Court offers Boise residents a chance for an affordable and sustainable fresh start — one that is sorely needed by many in the region.