New homes for women in the downtown eastside

View of the outside of the new apartment building Photo: Courtesy of Atira Women’s Resource Society

View of the outside of the new apartment building
Photo: Courtesy of Atira Women’s Resource Society

Adapted from The Vancouver Sun
Level 3

This apartment is made from old shipping containers.
The containers are stacked and finished inside.
They are painted bright colours.


Caption:  ??? Photo: Courtesy of Atira Womens Resource Society

Each apartment has a kitchen, bathroom and living room.
Photo: Courtesy of Atira Women’s Resource Society

Each apartment has a kitchen, a bathroom and a sleeping area.
The space is about 280 square feet.

The 3-storey building has 12 apartments. It is located at
502 Alexander Street in Vancouver. The apartments rent for
$375 to $850 per month.

Only women can rent the apartments. Women over 50 years old
will help the younger women living in the building.

“We are looking for women with roots in this community
who want to give back and support young women.” said Janice Abbott.
Janice is the chief executive of Atira Women’s Resource Society.

Atira Women’s Resource Society owns the building.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the City of Vancouver
gave money to help build it. BC Hydro and some private citizens also contributed.

The first women move in during September.

Atira is planning to build another building using shipping containers.
The next one will be seven storeys high and have 42 apartments.

What is a shipping container?
Shipping containers hold goods shipped by train, truck and ship.

A ship loaded with containers Photo: Derell Licht, Flickr

A ship loaded with containers
Photo: Derell Licht – Creative Commons, Flickr

Why build with shipping containers?
The containers are used for shipping for about 5 years.
Then they aren’t needed anymore. Often they are abandoned in shipyards.
This makes them cheap and available.

The Atira apartments cost about $82,500 each.
A similar normal apartment costs about $220,000 to build.

Designers like the characteristics of shipping containers. They are:

  • durable – long lasting
  • adaptable – can be changed easily
  • light weight – not heavy
  • low cost – cheap, inexpensive
A shipping container house in Flagstaff, Arizona Photo: Angel Schatz, Flickr

A shipping container house in Flagstaff, Arizona
Photo: Angel Schatz – Creative Commons, Flickr

Shipping containers can be made into lots of different things.

  • sculpture
  • homes
  • apartments
  • hotels
  • museums
  • storage units
  • offices
  • stores
  • cafes

3 thoughts on “New homes for women in the downtown eastside

  1. Pingback: Atira wins award | The Official Westcoast ReaderThe Official Westcoast Reader

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