Social entrepreneurs are helping the homeless – by transforming shipping containers into homes

A group of social entrepreneurs are helping the homeless – by transforming shipping containers into homes for rough sleepers.

The metal units are among dozens of old storage containers being turned into living spaces as part of a project by social enterprise Help Bristol’s Homeless.

The containers-turned-homes will provide accommodation for a rough sleeper for an entire year.

Property company Colliers International, which converted the two units, is among a number of Bristol businesses involved in the project, including EDF Energy, Barratt Homes and Balfour Beatty.

Each of the Malago Road-based units has been fitted with a lounge, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.

Army veteran and restaurateur Jasper Thompson, who founded Help Bristol’s Homeless in 2017, said: “It’s been a whole community effort.

”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.

”Colliers has been fantastic. Without their help there would be two more people sleeping on the streets.

“We are so grateful to all of the businesses involved in this project, which are helping to improve the lives of rough sleepers.”

Jasper set up Help Bristol’s Homeless after feeling he needed to do more to help people on the streets.

He came up with the idea of converting former shipping containers into temporary homes.

Everyone accommodated in the containers has been referred after an assessment – and is then given support in getting the help they need.

“They are also given opportunities to develop skills by helping in the conversion of the containers into homes,” Jasper said.

Tim Davies, head of South West and Wales at Colliers International, said: “Staff in the Bristol office have always rolled up their sleeves and got involved in Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

“This ambitious project takes that to a new level, as by helping to transform former shipping containers into temporary homes Colliers staff will also be helping to transform the lives of homeless people in Bristol.”

By Paul Andrews

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