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MADE IN IDAHO: Local company works to curb the affordable housing crisis one steel box at a time

From shipping containers to home sweet home
Posted: 8:57 AM, Jan 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-11 15:57:48Z
Made in Idaho: Caldwell's indieDwell turns shipping containers into homes

For many people, one of life's major achievements is owning their own home, but plenty of people these days simply can't afford to buy a house, which has helped create an affordable housing crisis both here in Idaho and beyond.

So now, Caldwell company indieDwell is working to change that trend, one shipping container at a time! The company was founded in 2018 by local home-builder Scott Flynn, who has been constructing custom houses in southwest Idaho for awhile now. A few years back, though, Flynn recognized a growing gap and an urgent need in the housing industry, specifically when it came to affordable housing, which he tells us, "...is almost over a trillion dollar market that nobody is serving."

In particular, Flynn noticed a lack of homes that were not only inexpensive, but also modern, clean, and efficient, luxuries that don't normally come to mind when you think of "affordable housing." So Flynn decided to create a company that could get homes on the market that people with lower incomes could not only afford, but enjoy. "We believe that healthy, high performance energy efficient homes should be built no matter what income category that you're building into," Flynn says.

His approach to creating modern yet affordable homes? Shipping containers, a surprisingly affordable - and abundant - resource. "There's 24 million of them that are decommissioned around the world and we're re-utilizing those," he told 6 On Your Side.

That means each and every home that is built inside indieDwell's Caldwell facility begins as a bare, rectangular, steel box. But, as the container moves down the construction line, it gains windows, doors, walls, insulation, plumbing and lighting, and finally, character, charm and efficiency that rivals any new home you'll find on the market today. indieDwell homes also have all the upgrades you can imagine, from quartz countertops and backsplashes to heating and cooling equipment that's 350% efficient.

And Flynn says, don't be mistaken by the size of these houses. While they are small, they are not "tiny homes." He says, "Our homes go on a foundation, they're real property, you can get a bank loan on them, they create wealth empowerment."

Not only that, but the shape and size of the homes themselves make them ideal to ship, and to stack; up to nine tall, in fact, an ideal situation since indieDwell's ultimate vision is to sell multiple units of their homes to developers who can fit up to six four-plexes on a one-acre lot.

"We'll never come close to serving the 7.5 million shortage, so we need others to like help us do that," explains Flynn, "but we're going to make as big an impact as we possibly can." Which ultimately means countless families who thought they'd never be able fulfill the American dream of home ownership might just have a shot at it. Explains Flynn, "You're putting the most vulnerable people or the ones that are left behind, in a product that they can actually get ahead in."

If you'd like to learn more indieDwell, their mission, and their homes - including layouts and customizable floor plans - you can them online here .