WARREN COUNTY, Ohio - Families stretching their budgets to afford rent and mortgage payments got one family thinking. They’re building new houses out of shipping containers.

What You Need To Know

  • Sandra Whitley and her niece Allison Lyons built a model home out of a shipping container and are turning it into a business they're calling 'House in a Box'

  • For about $64,000 and some land, they say they can make a shipping container a house 

  • Once they get permission from different counties and towns, they plan to expand to provide more housing for families 

To Sandra Whitley, a small one-bedroom house, is her baby. She built it out of a shipping container.

“I’ve been in construction for the last 25 years. and the previous company, I worked for, they said they were going to build for the average American, and their regular fund that went and turned back into how much can the investors make? and the average American can't afford a house. so I've been discussing it for years about building affordable housing that true average Americans can afford,” said Whitley. 

For about $64,000 and some land, she says you can fit a 1,000-square-foot house inside of a shipping container and make it your own.

When Allison Lyons, Whitley's niece, found out about the idea that had been in their family for decades, Lyons joined in, and back in August, they decided to turn it into a family business, and ‘House in a Box’ was born.

“We kind of dove in and we kept it small. we pulled our money and built this just to prove to ourselves that we could do it before we tried to prove to the world that they should let us do it for them, and we're here doing it,” said Lyons. 

They made the first model home in a barn in Warren County but the women-owned business duo are trying to expand.

“You're not sacrificing quality or space. you are you are literally giving yourself some freedom to go live. and I think it marries up both people, people who financially need this, but then also people who mentally need this option,” said Lyons.

So far they say there’s some interest, but they’re still working on getting clearance from counties and towns to build and see their idea, their baby, grow into a different kind of living.

“I just wanna help people get into houses, that’s my long-term goal,” said Whitley.