07 August 2010
In May of 2010, in Wilmington, NC, Mr. Vincent Burgess, Pres. of Kingdom Builders, Inc., a non-profit, housing development company unveiled his first affordable housing unit in a ceremony before family, friends and the general public.
The housing unit was a retrofitted cargo container that was turned into a one-bedroom apartment. Mr. Burgess, a licensed contractor, recognized the need for a more affordable housing option while working with another non-profit, whose mission was to help ex-offenders successfully transition back into society.
Kingdom builders, Inc. was started in 2009 with a mission of providing affordable housing to people with limited income. The homes had hard-wood floors, stainless steel appliances and other features that made a beautiful living space affordable.
The first cargo unit was developed to be a model for public viewing. This attractive air-conditioned unit has a small front porch, a full sized door into a fully functional retrofitted kitchen - then comes the full bathroom with a shower. There is a cozy living room with a sofa bed too. The living room looks out through a standard sized sliding glass door onto a sturdy patio.
Starting out with a world of faith and very little money, it took a crew of four, and three financial backers, several months to bring this project to completion. However, Mr. Burgess says that a similar model could be constructed in a matter of days. He said the hardest part of doing this project, was finding the container at the right price, waiting on the finances and getting the additional materials, that were eventually donated by friends, co-laborers in the industry and other supporters who believed in his vision.
The container size is 8'x40'. The estimated cost of a retrofitted container apartment is between $22,000.00 & $25,000.00 depending upon whether the owne r has a lot or needs to buy one.
It will rent for approximately $400.00 monthly as compared to a comparable size efficiency apartment that would rent for approximately $600.00 and up. When you add in the savings from heating and cooling cost you have quite an affordable option for a segment of an underserved market.
The next project is the development of eight units on a 70'x90' lot. Ordinarily, such a lot would only hold two standard size apartments. He is being encouraged and supported by the City of Wilmington because he has numerous lots too small for traditional houses but more than adequate for his designs.
When asked what was the greatest lesson learned from this project, Mr. Burgess replied: "Never give up." He gives the credit to God, and his wife for inspiring him to keep working on this project until it was completed.
Persons interested in renting, building, donating or investing, call 910-409-6166.