Combating Homelessness with Sheltainer Homes

The pandemic has impacted so many people globally, both on a large-scale and in the most minute details of daily life. While we recognize that it’s affected virtually everyone, we understand the homeless population suffers on a greater scale due to limited access to healthcare, and significant barriers to self-care and personal hygiene like clean showers, hand-washing facilities and laundry.

Although the homeless epidemic is extensive, with the rise of COVID-19, it has elevated to a full-blown public health crisis. This situation is more critical than ever and to support our communities, we have a duty to help combat homelessness.

One approach is making affordable housing more accessible, which is exactly what Sheltainer Homes set out to accomplish. Sheltainer Homes is a sustainable, modular housing startup mass-manufacturing high-quality, modern homes from upcycled shipping containers.

Designed by Landow and Landow Architects, they simplify the home construction process through factory manufacturing, creating economical solutions for affordable housing, disaster relief and accessory dwelling unit applications using repurposed containers. The goal being to create affordable, sustainable and cost-effective housing equip with ADA compliance, centralized heat and plumbing.

However, before they become homes, the units do serve their purpose as international shipping containers, carrying a wide array of materials. This is where Pennoni steps in! Pennoni was enlisted to offer industrial hygiene services to the Sheltainer project and provide an environmental hazard checklist. Pennoni staff was tasked with backtracking containers to see what materials were shipped in them, testing for hazardous materials such as radiation and lead paint and confirming the container overall is safe for human occupation.

To date, Pennoni has assessed 36 shipping containers prior to renovations and Sheltainer plans for these inspections to be on-going as they renovate more containers and expand into other regions of the U.S. Currently, Sheltainer is in the sales phase and are actively looking to partner with non-profits as well as developers with affordable housing requirements in the United States.

Special thanks to Pennoni staff: Ralph Coppola, senior industrial hygienist and Sheltainer project manager, Eric Shwartsman, graduate industrial hygienist, who assisted with the creation and implementation of the multi-point on site checklist along with assisting the field assessment and Mercedes Courter, graduate industrial hygienist, who lead the field assessment work. Pennoni is a proud teaming partner with Sheltainer Homes and participating in a project working towards a more accessible, sustainable future for all.

For more information on this project, contact Ralph Coppola.


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