Big Spring City Council Approves C-Containers as Housing Option - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

Big Spring City Council Approves C-Containers as Housing Option

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by Anum Valliani
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - With the oil boom continuing to thrive, more and more people are moving to West Texas.

With a shortage of housing, some cities are turning to some unusual forms of living, even if it's not the most attractive looking.

"If you talk to anybody around here, everybody's been just tickled to death," Don Avant, one of the co-founders of the alternative housing project, said.

That's because living in Big Spring just got easier as the city has approved alternative housing. Council members voted 4-2 on Tuesday night to allow Boxcar housing in certain areas, as long as neighbors are okay with it. 

"This is a need-don't get me wrong, I think we can make some money off of it after everything's done and paid for but it's a need that's helping people," Avant said.

Audrey Key moved into the very first box car home last October. With year-long waiting lists for apartments, she was out of options. She said that moving in was easy since there was literally nowhere else to go that was affordable. 

Then she met the Avant brothers, who had been toying with the idea to supply alternative housing for about four years. Their houses, virtually the size of a slightly longer mobile home, come with full amenities, furniture and maintenance support for $1,200 per month.

"It had everything that we needed. All I needed to bring was my clothes," Key said. 

Now people don't have to settle in dilapidated houses, bum in strangers' garages or live in their cars. Key also said she has more money at the end of the week to splurge on other things.

But officials have been concerned about the safety of the alterative housing as well as critical of how they look and what will remain in the aftermath of the boom. 

Mayor McLellan said there needs to be a definitive area for cars to be parked and for children to play. Perhaps more importantly, he wants there to be credible licenses from the safety departments within the state to show that the houses are habitable.

Needless to say, Mayor McLellan personally is not a fan.

"I don't want Big Spring to become the C-Container hub of West Texas," he said. 

Regardless, he agreed that this option is still safer than some other living arrangements that exist in the area.

"People are living in houses that you can see through the walls, floors that have holes and windows are broken out or boarded up," McLellan said.

There are currently about 50 people living in C-Container housing. With talks of untapped oil in the area, Avant anticipates a greater demand and he's considering bringing the building crew from San Angelo to Big Spring, which includes Texas certified electricians and plumbers. 

Though that would take care of one of the concerns for city officials, the Mayor is projecting- and trying to contain a different problem in the future. Furthermore, he wants to ensure that it won't be the City's responsibility to get rid of them.

"You want to be sure that you plan that day when this boom is over and you're left with things like a bunch of abandoned trailer parks and C-Containers that you can take care of a situation and be able to return your city to what it was without an excessive amount of expenses," he said.

As for now, C-Container housing isn't going anywhere.