As the price of rent keeps increasing, people across the economic spectrum are finding innovative and unique ways to try and afford housing. Americans are moving all the time. About 10% of the population moves within state, while only 1.55% move to another one. Many people wanting to live near San Francisco are turning to an option that is cheap and won’t require a big moving company either.
According to the New York Times, there are two housing arrangements in particular that have drawn national attention. Housing-related reasons were the most popular reason for hiring a moving company between 2012 and 2013 as 48% of people cited this as their reason. In New York City they moved outwards to Brooklyn, on the West Coast they’re moving to Oakland. Into boxes.
The first “housing complex” described is called Containertopia. Located in an industrial pocket of Oakland, it’s just what the name suggests. For $600 dollars a month residents can live in a secure self storage facility. Technically they’re 160-foot shipping containers, but they can be modified with glass doors, electrical outlets, solar panels, and bathroom facilities.
Containertopia was started by Luke Iseman and Heather Stewert last year. They think of it as more of a social experiment than anything else.
“If we can do it in one of the highest-cost places in the world,” Iseman said, “people can do this anywhere.”
Just outside the warehouse that houses Containertopia lies the other alternative housing project going on in the city. These are more mobile storage units that are made by a local artist to house homeless people. They’re about eight feet long and tall enough to stand up in. Gregory Kloehn is the artist responsible for their creation. He began creating and giving away these portable homes that are on wheels in 2011 to help the homeless community of about 3,000.
Iseman and Stewart originally set up Containertopia in an open lot, but were forced to move when neighbors complained. Instead of hiring a moving company they got a few friends and a forklift to move the containers to the warehouse location it now resides.
The average American will move 12 times in their lifetime. Affordable, alternative housing projects such as these could make it easier and more common for people to move to expensive cities and pursue the dreams they have there.