Home / News / Manatee County man says shipping container homes could be affordable housing solution

Manatee County man says shipping container homes could be affordable housing solution

May 06, 2023May 06, 2023

by: Allyson Henning

Posted: May 10, 2023 / 06:08 PM EDT

Updated: May 11, 2023 / 05:16 AM EDT

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Affordable housing is impacting countless families across Tampa Bay. One Manatee County man believes his latest creation could be part of the solution.

Glen Gibellina bought three shipping containers from overseas and picked them up from a local port after they made the single trip to the United States. He's since transformed the containers into a 2-bedroom, 1-bath, 744-square-foot home in southern Manatee County.

"These containers last 20 or 30 years in the open sea, stacked 10-high, salt water, typhoons, they’re very durable. This will not see any of that, and it should last 150 to 200 years with very little maintenance. The whole idea is to give a long-lasting product, hurricane resistant, and little maintenance because that is what we need, and affordability," said Gibellina.

Gibellina is part of the county's affordable housing advisory board and knows the issue well.

"We are currently around 30,000 units short of affordable housing. We are so far behind. We are 20 years from where we need to be. The problem is that, with the population explosion, we get more service workers, more entry-level school teachers, sheriff's department, EMS, fire and they can't afford to live here and we are not keeping up with demand for them. We are keeping up with demand for the $500,000 or $600,000 homes, but we are not looking out for the workforce housing," said Gibellina.

Building the container cost him about $150,000 plus fees. He says with the proper funding in place, a similar place could go up in about four months’ time. He is going to rent the place to a mother and son who might not have a roof over their heads otherwise.

"We would be homeless, because there was just no way I could have ever afforded the going rates 10 years ago let alone now, and I have people that I know personally that are in circumstances that there's nowhere for them to go and there are no options, so this is a definite option for Manatee County to listen to and to pay attention," said the tenant Denise Jones.

Gibellina says he did what he could to help address the affordable housing crisis and says he’d be happy to help others interested in doing the same.

"We need to move that needle, get people out of poverty, and into reasonable rent," said Gibellina

Anyone interested can contact Gibellina directly at [email protected].

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