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Waterloo Region pilot project converting shipping containers into affordable housing units

WATERLOO — Waterloo Region is developing a pilot project that will convert shipping containers to affordable housing units.
Six units are being built for a neighbourhood in Cambridge.
“The units come fully furnished and with their appliances,” said Matthew Lubberts, NOW Housing President. “They come with a fridge, stove, microwave, washer, and dryer.”
An area at the Bechtel Street address is empty right now, but the plan is to build two-storey housing units out of the shipping containers.
Shipping container housing map
A map shows where the first six units will be located. (Supplied by the Region of Waterloo)
Lubberts is overseeing the construction.
“It will be one of the futures of affordable housing,” he said. “Modular housing is coming a long way out of all the types just because of labour and other issues that are in the construction industry right now.”
The pilot project will cost $2.2 million. Officials say federal funding made it possible.
“These are all going to be one-bedroom units and they will be 250 to 280 square feet, so they are going to be very small-sized units, but there’s been great advances in the design of use of small space,” said Jennifer Murdoch-Martin, Waterloo Region’s Manager of Housing Programs and Development.
Murdoch-Martin says the units will be subsidized as rent geared to income.
“There are six units and we are hoping for all singles, perhaps up to 12 if we had couples,” she said.
Shipping container housing
Rendering of the shipping container development. (Supplied by the Region of Waterloo)
The development was planned to help with the demand for low-cost living.
“Low-cost housing and affordable housing is desperately needed in the City of Cambridge and in Waterloo Region,” said Mike Devine, city councillor for the area.
Regional officials say the waitlist is currently six to seven years for a one-bedroom.
The units will be moved to the site in late November with occupancy planned by the end of the year.
Shipping containers housing
Waterloo Region is developing a pilot project to convert shipping containers into affordable housing units. A rendering is pictured here. (Supplied by the Region of Waterloo)

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