Non-profit receives shipping containers from Arizona-Mexico border

Wholistic Transformation: Changing Hearts, Minds and Communities seeks to use them for community housing
Wholistic Transformation is building homes for young people who age out of the foster system.
Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 5:54 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 13, 2023 at 5:56 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Shipping containers that were used as a border wall are finding new life in midtown.

A non-profit seeking to create housing for young adults from the foster system now has a couple of these containers.

Look inside and you’ll see there is work to be done on two, 20-foot-long containers, but nothing that Wholistic Transformation: Changing Hearts Minds and Communities says it can’t handle.

“Just pleased, excitement I guess, you know, it’s a journey,” said group founder and CEO Bryan Benz.

Benz said it was an 11-month journey to get two shipping containers from the state. They were both used on the border wall and they were bought sight unseen.

“Everything that I’ve been told led me to believe that they weren’t going to be usable,” Benz said. “I’m very pleased that they’re in better shape, and this is a D quality so this is the worst the state had. We feel that with the modifications that we’re going to put on them, it will be a nice, one-bedroom house when we’re done with it.”

That one-bedroom house will likely be one of eight for Wholistic Transformation to help young adults aging out of the foster system.

“There’s a great need,” Benz said.

The community will also house a resident navigator to help with life skills for the residents to become self-sufficient.

“There were times where I didn’t believe it was going to happen,” Benz said.

The organization bought a lesser-used 40-foot long container to set up as a prototype. If Benz gets more containers from the state, they will also have to be 40-footers, which is something they must consider. Making a home out of two, 20-footers provides a more open floorplan. Whatever they decide Benz says they remain committed to this community becoming a reality.

“I think you have to have a stick-to-itiveness, if you will, nose to the grindstone, and not get discouraged, you know you have to feel this is the right direction and you have to keep working hard at it,” Benz said.

Two more 20-foot containers have been donated, which is why the layout expanded from seven to eight structures for their community. They must still have permits approved by the city.