A new approach to the Grays Harbor’s homeless population may come in the form of a few metal shipping containers re-purposed as shelters — but only if land can be found on which to put them.
Local businessman Tim Quigg said Tuesday he has ordered a pair of 15-foot-by-8-foot containers from Federal Way-based West Coast Trailer and Container Repair Inc. Jeff Anonson, the company’s owner, said Quigg’s order would ship near the beginning of February.
The containers will be converted to domiciles with a door, window, 110-volt electrical system, and a set of overhead lights, Anonson said. The containers’ power would need to come from a generator or other source. The units also will have ventilation systems and small outdoor porches with awnings.
The containers will not come furnished, Quigg said, but the insides could be outfitted with bunks, which he would leave up to the shelters’ residents.
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Quigg said the containers would likely be donated to an organization such as Catholic Community Services to oversee their use. But Quigg said he wants them to stay in Aberdeen, near local resources such as the Union Gospel Mission and food banks.
Quigg said he is looking to other local leaders to help determine exactly where the shelters would go.
“I can go find a place to put them, but I want the community to be a part of that,” he said.
Mayor Erik Larson said he is open to the idea of having the shelters in town, but stressed that it should be done legally. Larson said he hopes Quigg and anyone else involved with the effort would include other stakeholders in the process, including officials with Grays Harbor Health and Social Services.
“At the end of the day, he’s a private citizen and if he works within the confines of the law, he can do whatever he thinks is best for the homeless,” Larson said of Quigg. “I applaud him for taking immediate action, and I’m hopeful we can come to an agreement.”