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What those temporary homes for the homeless will look like

April 10th, 2009 · 8 Comments

Some of the comments following a recent post showed me that people aren’t sure what these pre-fab housing units for the homeless will look like. People were asking whether there’d be bathrooms inside and so on, after I posted recently that the city is proposing to put almost 200 units on two city lots downtown.

Chris Gardner of Britco, the company that would be manufacturing them, also got in touch with me, concerned that people have the wrong idea about what they’ll look like. He doesn’t have any drawings or pictures yet of what the Vancouver modules might look like, because they’re still in the preliminary stages, but he sent me images of what they’re manufacturing for Whistler’s Olympics workforce housing — the closest they have to what might be put up in Vancouver.

The images are available at the link here:


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  • LP

    Are the low level units on page 1 more representative of what we’ll see downtown?

    I have trouble believing they would be multi-level and as nice as those on page 2 seem.

    It would be nice that if page 1 is where we’re going, that we could see a drawing without all the whistler “environment” around them. Snow, trees, etc…

  • Quatchi

    I think the unit on page 2 has a flat screen tv.

  • FrancesKnowsMe

    “…He doesn’t have any drawings or pictures yet of what the Vancouver modules might look like, because they’re still in the preliminary stages,…”.

    So why does Britco have to develop modules? Why don’t we don’t we just adapt from the Europeans and buy from THEM much cheaper units which already exist (9,000 EUR! vs 50,000 Can$/unit) and are completely self contained (copy/paste): (200 containers – 250sft/container – stacked up, fully loaded with cooking corner, shower/toilet, tv & internet. Including 40,000sft property for 5 mio EUR (8mio Cdn$)!!! and the students are very happy)




  • Frances, I previously posted illustrations of the units I was proposing on my Facebook site, and on my blog at An images of the Henriquez ‘stop-gap’ housing’ is also available on line.

    While I explored the use of converted containers, I believe it is more feasible to create the housing in the short term using purpose built modules, manufactured by Britco, or Shelter Industries. While I was proposing an upgraded appearance for the exterior, with coloured murals and more durable metal siding, the plans are based on what is commonly used in remote job-sites.

    I hope this is helpful.

  • fbula


    Thanks for this. I should have checked with you but Chris from Britco was the one who emailed and prompted me to put up a facsimile.

  • MB

    It’s great to see the issue moving beyond dialogue into real proposals and projects. Bout time.

    My vote is for 100% self-contained units with on site food and medical services.

  • Stu

    If someone in the know could compare the COSTS of the units from different manufactures … that would help, rather than offering vague “…I believe it is more feasible…” WHY do you think it is more feasible?! These units are not going to be in remote job-sites, so why this suggestion?!