As Metro Vancouver's suburbs struggle to deal with growing numbers of homeless people, one company has come up with a unique housing solution: shipping containers.

A mobile homeless shelter created by Econopro from an old marine container was moved to the Salvation Army site in Chilliwack this week and offers beds for up to 16 people.

"You come inside, they've got light for reading; they've got a place to hang their wet clothes," said the company's Richard Rotteveel, as he demonstrated the shelter's fold-down bunks.

The company had offered the shelter to any community in need, but there were few takers until Chilliwack decided to give it a try.

"It's on a temporary basis for four months while we work through some issues with the city ... and then hopefully we can have it on a more permanent basis if we need it," said Ian Pratt of the Salvation Army.

Before the new shelter arrived, the Salvation Army's shelter had just 11 beds, and the facility was over-crowded.

"We were running up to 16, 18 people through that shelter," Pratt said.

There are an estimated 200 homeless people in Chilliwack, including Patricia Allen, who has been homeless on and off for two years. She told CTV News she would be sleeping on the streets if it weren't for the new shelter.

"These things, as small as they are, I'd be just so grateful just to have it over my head. Especially in winter, when it's cold," she said.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Michele Brunoro