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Reformed criminal transforms old shipping containers into homes for homeless drug addicts

Man who was given a ‘second chance’ after leaving prison is turning an old shipping container into temporary accommodation for homeless people with drug addictions who want to get clean

  • Father Hayden Lee Jessop, 28, spent time in prison as a young man in 2013 
  • Said he had the benefit of being given a ‘second chance’ and wants to give back 
  • He’s transforming a shipping container into a flat for homeless people
  • Wants the one-person property to be a place where people beat addiction 

A reformed criminal is transforming a disused shipping container into short-term accommodation for homeless people with drug addictions who want to beat their habit. 

Father-of-two, Hayden Lee Jessop, 28, from Leeds, wants to turn the container into a self-contained, one-person flat where an individual can live for six months as part of a year-long programme to overcome addiction. 

Mr Jessop, founder of the charity Vulnerable Citizen Support Leeds, came up with the idea after experiencing first hand the value of being given a ‘second chance’ after he left jail after a seven-week stint in 2013. 

Hayden Lee Jessop wants to turn the container (pictured) into a self-contained flat where a homeless person can live for six months as part of a year-long programme to get sober

Hayden Lee Jessop wants to turn the container (pictured) into a self-contained flat where a homeless person can live for six months as part of a year-long programme to get sober

Mr Jessop, pictured, founder of the charity Vulnerable Citizen Support Leeds, came up with the idea after experiencing first hand the value of being given a 'second chance'

Mr Jessop, pictured, founder of the charity Vulnerable Citizen Support Leeds, came up with the idea after experiencing first hand the value of being given a ‘second chance’ 

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, he said he wanted to give people the opportunity to learn basic employment skills such as catering while staying in the shipping container and foresees it becoming a small community of eight units. 

He said: ‘A lot of the people I help have never been in work. For example if they are from a criminal background and have been in and out of jail.

‘Spending time inside changed my life. I went to jail and came out and built a business. I was given a second chance, but a lot of young men don’t get that.’

Mr Jessop is currently working on converting one container, pictured, which was transported from Bristol, and is relying on the goodwill of companies and the generosity of well-wishers

Mr Jessop is currently working on converting one container, pictured, which was transported from Bristol, and is relying on the goodwill of companies and the generosity of well-wishers 

Photos taken inside the container show how it is taking shape with cladding and timber partitions. Eventually it will boast a  a shower, toilet, bed, wardrobe and drop-down table

Photos taken inside the container show how it is taking shape with cladding and timber partitions. Eventually it will boast a  a shower, toilet, bed, wardrobe and drop-down table

Mr Jessop is currently working on converting one container, which was transported from Bristol, and is relying on the goodwill of companies and the generosity of well-wishers. 

Writing on a GoFundMe page for the project, Mr Jessop told how the prototype container will contain a shower, toilet, bed, wardrobe and drop-down table, while the cooking facilities will be separated for health and safety reasons. 

The aim is to get to the point where there are eight or so containers housing one person each. 

Mr Jessop explained the initiative could become self-sustaining, with previous residents helping to build future units. 

Materials such as timber, to clad the inside of the container, pictured, have been donated by a firm in Halifax and work is expected to be completed over the coming months

Timber to clad the inside of the container, pictured, has been donated by a firm in Halifax and work is expected to be completed over the coming months

The aim is to get to the point where there are eight or so containers housing one person each. Pictured, the first container arriving in Leeds

The aim is to get to the point where there are eight or so containers housing one person each. Pictured, the first container arriving in Leeds 

‘The idea is to get the people living in there to help us out,’ he told the Yorkshire Post.

‘We’ll get people the help they need, and in return they can repay us by helping to build more homes so we can help even more people.’ 

In 2016, Hayden was instrumental in the Leeds’ ‘Tent City’ protest ‘ to highlight the issue of homelessness, which after 18-days helped secure permanent or temporary housing for 31 homeless people.

Hayden who at the time was working with the Leeds Homeless Partnership, said to BBC News at the time: ‘The needs of these guys are not being met properly.

‘We just want to address to the council that these guys need proper assessments.

‘There are guys going back to jail because they are getting the support they need in jail but not on the outside.’ 

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