Citihub opening more container housing for low-income tenants

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A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE is offering low-income workers accommodation built with surplus shipping containers nearer their workplaces, potentially saving them long commutes.

Citihub, originally a corporate social responsibility project to provide housing for class C, D, E workers living in the outskirts of the Metro Manila in 2011, will be opening a 394-room bedspace beside Robinsons Cainta in October and a 596-room site near Ford Balintawak next year, its largest site so far.

Built using shipping containers the worker accommodation comes with free utilities such as Wi-Fi and water, the Citihub projects are targeted at short-lease tenants between one and five months for as little as P57 per night.

“We realized the importance of giving opportunities for housing to those blue-collar workers who are employed on a five-month basis so we allow them to stay at the rate that they need,” Eden April A. Dayrit, property specialist at Citihub said on the sidelines of a design conference on Friday in Makati.

Ms. Dayrit added that while real estate sector is quick to adapt to the needs of the commercial segment, the government is “slower” to respond to the low-income segment’s needs. She added that “It’s just a matter of people eing financially literate enough so that they can leverage the financing available from the government, by the private sector so they can acquire their own homes.”

Citihub’s first site was set up in Mandaluyong six years ago, while the second – near Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa – opened earlier this year, catering 260 and 394 transient tenants, respectively.

With the government’s push to build more infrastructure in other regions of the country, Ms. Dayrit said Citihub also plans to expand its locations nationwide.

“We are currently in talks with Bataan, and it’s a bit of a unique location because we were approached by a company owner that needs housing for employees,” Ms. Dayrit said.

“[W]e (also) had talks with Davao because we’re looking into franchising under Francorp […] so I think our first case study will be in Davao. It’s open nationwide to cities that need housing for their workers and students,” she added. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato