Texas officials say no to people living in cargo containers

FORT WORTH — A proposal to convert shipping containers into low-income homes drew negative reactions from city leaders Tuesday.

Mayor Mike Moncrief and some City Council members said they do not like a plan by A Place to Sleep, a Tarrant County-based nonprofit, to create homes from steel cargo boxes that measure 48 feet long and 8.5 feet wide.

"It's not going to attract anything around it except problems," Moncrief said during a briefing by city staff.

The group hopes to combat homelessness by bringing efficient, affordable homes made from shipping containers to cities nationwide.

Project director Mike Wallace said A Place to Sleep has found a spot in southeast Fort Worth to build its first house, provided it can secure a building permit. The lot, at Davis and Yuma avenues, is in Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks’ district.

The group has not applied for a permit but has submitted a draft design to the city. The homes would include a kitchen, bathroom and two windows, according to city documents.

"I don't think these are appropriate for single-family neighborhoods," Hicks said.

A Place to Sleep unveiled a prototype home in Richland Hills last year that looked very much like a green shipping container with a simple roof, two windows and a door. Wallace said the council incorrectly believes that the homes planned for Fort Worth will look like that prototype.

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