An Auction and Marketplace for Shipping and Cargo Containers

Container Housing for the Homeless in San Francisco

30.12.2016 - Posted by Updated On 30.12.2016    

It's been well documented that housing costs in San Francisco have been going through the roof over the past few years, and it's nearly impossible to find affordable housing unless you're making a high salary. To combat this, property developer (and billionaire) John Sobrato wants to build a container housing development in Santa Clara to help the cities 6,500 homeless people.

Sobrato, who has spent much of his career building office space for many of Silicon Valley's technology giants, asked the Santa Clara City Council for exclusive negotiating rights to lease a 2.5-acre plot of city-owned land, three miles south of the San Francisco 49ers football stadium and currently leased to a Hyundai dealership. His plan for the lot calls for a mix of 160- and 240-square-foot units, large enough for a kitchenette and bathroom with shower, which he said could be fashioned out of re-purposed shipping containers.

Under the plan, the developer asked for a 57-year lease at the cost of $1 a year. In return, the Sobrato Organization, based in Cupertino, would build and own the apartments, then lease them back to Santa Clara County, which would hire property management and homeless service providers. The project, called Innovation Place, could open as soon as 2018, with half the units rented to homeless and half offered to renters earning between 50 and 80 percent of the area's median income.

Based on the project renderings it's hard to tell exactly how the container complex will be laid out, and how many containers will be required, although it does appear to be a mix of 20' and 40' containers. The individual apartments will be a mixture of standard sizes as well as ADA compliant apartments.




Projects such as this offer creative, cost effective solutions aimed at addressing a growing housing crisis in many cities across the United States. A few hours south in Orange County there is a project to house homeless veterans constructed of three stacked containers that form a 16 unit apartment building. Across the Atlantic in Brighton UK, the Brighton Housing Trust built a 36 unit structure out of repurposed shipping containers to house local homeless people. isn't directly involved in converting shipping containers into housing, but several of the active sellers on the marketplace are very skilled in the area and have completed many large and small projects around the US and Canada. If you're interested in purchasing unmodified new or used shipping containers please feel free to contact any of the sellers through their active listings on the site. If you have a specific container modification project in mind feel free to contact the office and we'll help to point you in the right direction.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Similar Articles