MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — A Tampa Bay company is working with nonprofits to turn shipping containers into transitional housing for vets.
The size of a typical shipping container is about 640 square feet. It may not seem like much room, but if you have nothing, it can be a life saver.
“We are used to living three to a room, that’s actually smaller than this, so this would actually be at home having one of these, you’ll feel like you’re in the Ritz,” said Bryan Jacobs.
Jacobs knows what it’s like to be a veteran without a place to call home.
“I didn’t understand that I had a problem at first, until I found myself homeless. I lived in a Honda Accord, I lived right next to the Hampton Roads VA underneath a bridge,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs now helps vets, like himself, reintegrate into society through his organization Vets 2 Success. When he saw the blueprints for turning shipping containers into transitional homes, he saw a light at the end of the tunnel.
“This would give this simplest piece of life back, where, ‘wow I’m somebody.’ I can now start to build this person, build this identity,” said Jacobs.
Glen Gibellina is the retired contractor behind the containers. He said he just wanted to give back in the best way he knew how.
“This 20-foot transitional housing I believe is the answer, it’s easy to maintain, its easy to build, anybody can do it,” said Gibellina.
Gibellina’s company, Uncontained 360, will deliver the containers to any organization that’s got the resources to sponsor a vet. They will then guide that group, step by step, through the building process.
A finished container costs about $100 per square foot.
“We look for lots that used to have a house on it, because we know the infrastructure is there, the water, sewer electric,” said Gibellina. “Get them built, get the veterans off the street, and stabilize their life and get them into permanent housing.”