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'Great potential': how box homes could help in times of crisis

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A Sunshine Coast-based business has unveiled a new product it says can provide emergency housing for people affected by natural disasters, domestic violence and homelessness.

Rapid Response Housing has designed what it calls collapsible box homes, which can be installed from flat pack to house in just 10 minutes.

The box homes have been inspected by several community leaders, including Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace, who has flagged the product with state and federal counterparts as a potential solution during emergencies or other times of need.

Related story: Housing crisis: expert urges community to join action

“We recognise the importance of having a safe and secure place to call home, and we are committed to making a positive impact in the lives of those facing homelessness,” Rapid Response Housing managing director Wayne Loane said.

The box homes have a steel frame with hinged side walls and folding end walls, allowing the structure to pop up and down as required.

They are considered ‘job ready’ and come equipped with insulation, doors and windows, safety switches, smoke alarms, power points and LED lighting.

“We recently delivered and installed 12 box homes to families displaced by the floods, on behalf of Rotary Australia World Community Service, within the Northern Rivers region of NSW,” Mr Loane said.

“The event was covered by local news teams and was seen as a success to the community.

“The families now have a safe space to live on their properties while they rebuild their flood-affected homes.

“A further order has been placed to assist with some of the 3000 displaced people on Rotary’s list.”

Assembling one of the box homes.

Rapid Response Housing says the box homes are strong, durable and sustainable, while meeting Australian building codes and regulations. Fourteen box homes can be transported per truck load, making delivery fast and cost-effective, and they can be repurposed or relocated as needed.

The homes do not have kitchens or bathrooms, because those features are not collapsible, but the business says they can be easily sourced and added.

“Our mission is to help those who are experiencing immediate homelessness to get back on their feet and regain their independence,” company director Brad Sutherland said.

“We believe that everyone deserves a safe and secure place to live, and we are committed to doing our part to make that a reality.”

Inside one of the homes.

The design for Box Homes was done by the Rapid Response Housing team, including chief of innovation Troy Suann. Box Homes are manufactured in Asia.

They are considered temporary structures and so do not require planning permits to erect.

Rapid Response Housing says it is keen to work closely with local and state government agencies, non-profit organisations and other community partners to identify individuals and families in need of temporary housing.

“We are proud to be part of the solution to the homelessness crisis in our community,” Mr Loane said.

“We believe that by working together, we can make a real difference in the lives of those who are experiencing homelessness.”

Mr Wallace said he was impressed when he inspected some of the box homes at Glenview.

“The collapsible box homes are unique because of their transportability and affordability,” he said. “They can be stored in shipping containers that can be moved around the country, or indeed the world, with relative ease.

Brad Sutherland, MP Andrew Wallace and Wayne Loane.

“They have great potential for short-term and emergency accommodation. A number of homes can be installed and put to service inside an hour.

“I have spoken with the Commonwealth Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt and sent him all of the promotional literature provided to me. I have suggested he speak to his state counterparts with a view to the Commonwealth partnering with the states to purchase these homes that can be kept in storage indefinitely and used as and when required.

“When the disaster or need is over, they can be collapsed and stored back into the shipping container and retained by the relevant government department.

“I have also spoken with the Shadow Minister for Emergency Management Perin Davey and she’s hoping to come to the Sunshine Coast to have a look at the Rapid Response Housing first-hand.

“I encourage Mr Sutherland in his efforts, working with governments and NGOs who will have a need for emergency short-term accommodation, and I wish him well.”

The structure can pop up and down as required.

Sunshine Coast Councillor Christian Dickson also threw his support behind the initiative on social media this week.

“Have you heard about Sunshine Coast-based business Rapid Response Housing?” he posted.

“They are pioneering affordable temporary and emergency homes for Australians.

“Having seen this in person, I am convinced that they will do some great things for those living rough and needing a roof over their head.

“I’d like to see Sunshine Coast Council get on board and trial these on council land for the homeless and less fortunate.”

The homes are available to inspect by appointment at 26-30 Kayleigh Drive, Maroochydore.

Visit Rapid Response Housing for more information.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor with your name and suburb at Sunshine Coast News via: news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au

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