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Converting shipping containers into housing for homeless vets

More than 50 steel shipping containers are headed to Orange County's Midway City for a homeless veterans housing project. The containers will be renovated to create permanent residences for veterans in the area. The first 14 containers arrived Wednesday.

Homeless support network American Family Housing is spearheading the project in Midway City, which is next to Westminster and Huntington Beach. The project will transform 54 shipping containers into a multi-family permanent housing complex. Three containers will make one 480-square-foot unit, with 16 residences total. 

This is the first project of its kind in the country, American Family Housing President Donna Gallup told KPCC. It will take much less time to build than traditional housing, she added.

Supportive housing construction generally can take anywhere from two to three years to complete, while the process for this model took about nine months from start to finish, according to Gallup.

The most time-consuming part of the process, Gallup said, was getting various city departments to approve the project, since it's the first time it's been done. 

The organization intends to replicate the model and expects that it will take less time the second time around, she said. 

“It is an incredible need in Orange County. We’ve had an increase in homelessness and an increase in our homeless veterans, and it is something that is important to honor those that have served our country," Gallup said.

The project should be mostly complete by December, and veterans can start settling in by early next year. Gallup said they are still raising money to provide the units with furnishing and other amenities.

Correction: An earlier version of the story misstated how many of the containers arrived Wednesday. KPCC regrets the error.