Post Competition Update: Indiana University + Habitat for Humanity

August 24, 2022 / 5 mins read

Charlie Lynne, homeowner of the first Habitat container home

In the spring of 2019, Indiana University's Kelley Institute for Social Impact (KISI) partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County for its first annual Impact Competition.

During the competition, student teams proposed projects to help analyze Habitat's current model for construction and housing and recommend ideas for future development.

The winning team developed an innovative plan to construct homes from recycled shipping containers, which would successfully lower the cost of construction and the homeowner’s subsequent mortgage payment. This solution would therefore allow more Monroe County residents in need of housing to be able to afford a stable and comfortable home.

This pilot project was met with great enthusiasm by Habitat staff and volunteers alike, with many Indiana University students volunteering with the build.


Two years later, the first shipping container has been converted into an affordable home, with the new homeowner set to move in later this fall. With a total of 320 square feet, the shipping container has been transformed into a one-bedroom, one-bathroom home with a living room and combined kitchen/dining space. The home also has a covered outside deck.

Shipping containers cost a fraction of what walls cost in conventional stick-framed homes, and also offer the opportunity to build with a smaller footprint which increases housing density. This is particularly valuable when land is scarce or prohibitively expensive.

Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County is currently in search of a location for a small shipping container village. According to Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County's CEO Wendi Goodlett, "We believe there is great potential for repurposed containers to allow us to house more people in quality homes at a lower cost.”

On August 30, 2022, Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County dedicated its first home built from a shipping container and handed over the keys to the new homeowner, Charlie Lynn. The shipping container has been transformed into a 320-square-foot home, with one bedroom and bath, a living room and combined kitchen/dining space with a covered deck outside.

This exciting project is just one of the ways that Impact Competitions are having a lasting positive impact on the local communities surrounding partner schools. The changes that these students are proposing are not mere intellectual games–they are truly changing people's lives for many years to come.

Further reading:

Learn more about this creative Habitat project in the Herald Times.
Learn more about this home's new homeowner, Charlie Lynn, in the Bloomington Herald Times.
Read about the home dedication ceremony on the Kelley School of Business site

Photos by Ann Schertz Photography