Homeless Shelter Opens Using Customized Shipping Containers

LPA worked with CRATE Modular to design the new Buena Park Homeless Navigation Center, a transitional, temporary homeless shelter using customized recycled shipping containers.

The facility, which officially opened in Buena Park, California on June 29, provides beds for 150 people. Twelve cities in north Orange County and the County of Orange came together to develop the 15,000-square foot facility navigation center, which includes beds, health services, common areas, work stations, a kitchen, a dog run and a laundry room.

“It is very fulfilling to be part of a project that provides shelter for those in the community who need it most,” LPA Director of Civic + Cultural Jeremy Hart says.

As communities wrestle with increasing homeless populations, LPA is working with local leaders in Southern California to find ways to quickly and efficiently develop public shelters with little or no barriers to entry. LPA helped develop the Tustin Temporary Emergency Shelter in Tustin, California, which went from an approved layout to operational in less than five months.

For the Buena Park facility, LPA served as a consultant to CRATE, which builds factory-manufactured, shipping container-based structures that can be completed in half the time of traditional multi-unit housing and school building construction. Each container has only been used once and is completely customized for each project.“

Working with CRATE Modular helped us accomplish this project within a tight timeline and aggressive schedule,” Hart says.The design for the Buena Park facility took approximately 40 days to complete. Permit approvals were obtained in 48 hours. The construction, which integrated 48 shipping containers, was completed in four months.

CRATE Opening2

In addition to the Buena Park center, LPA is working with CRATE Modular on a similar shelter for the County of Merced. The firm has worked with several communities in California and Texas on strategies for addressing the demand for temporary shelters that can serve the transitional physical and mental health needs of the homeless.

The Buena Park Navigation Center was developed and funded through a unique partnership called the North Orange County Service Planning Area (North SPA), representing the 12 cities. Mercy House, an organization that provides comprehensive supportive services for a variety of homeless populations, was selected as the operator of the facility.

“The Buena Park Navigation Center represents the coordination and commitment from the 12 partner cities of the North Service Planning Area to address homelessness and provide solutions that benefit the region,” said Orange County Board of Supervisors member Michelle Steel. “It is a transitional, temporary homeless facility which will provide a stable setting with healthcare and other resources to help clients permanently transition off the streets.”

Elected officials from the North Orange County Service Planning Area (North SPA) attended the ribbon cutting, including representatives of the County of Orange Board of Supervisors.