Shipping containers will provide temporary accommodation for people with a history of homelessness.
The first of six containers arrived in Brighton, East Sussex, today with a further 30 arriving by the end of the week, the Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) said.
The converted containers will provide temporary homes, for a period of five years, in the city's New England Quarter for 36 men and women with a history of homelessness, the charity said.
The first three containers arrived on the land - which was formally used as a scrap metal yard - this morning, and another three will arrive this afternoon, BHT chief executive Andy Winter said.
Ross Gilbert, from developers QED, said the first residents are expected to move into the containers in about five weeks' time, turning the "exciting and innovative housing concept into reality".
He said: "Our temporary use of land earmarked for future regeneration demonstrates just what can be done in the interim to help solve the acute housing shortage."
The units were designed and constructed in Holland in 2010 by TempoHousing, specifically for a social housing project in Amsterdam which failed to materialise because of funding difficulties, Mr Winter said.
This meant the units were available at a discounted rate, adding to the financial viability of the project, he added.
In a blog post on the BHT website, Mr Winter said shipping containers had rarely been used as temporary living accommodation in the UK but there were a number of examples in continental Europe, with the most notable project in Keetwonen, Amsterdam, a development by TempoHousing of 1,000 containers which was completed in 2006 and is still in use.
When the land being used for the Brighton project is eventually redeveloped, the accommodation units could be transferred to other locations, the charity said.
Mr Winter said: "This is an exciting moment in this project to provide 36 new homes for men and women in housing need.
"We have identified 21 of the first 36 residents and they are being prepared to move into their new homes.
"The residents will have completed one of BHT's programme for change and will free up space in other services that will be able to take in men and women who are currently on the streets.
"There is an acute shortage of affordable accommodation in Brighton and Hove and, in a landlords' m arket, particularly for those with a history of homelessness.
"The number of street homeless people in the city has increased from 37 in November 2011 to 43 in November 2012.
"However, there is a wide consensus that the actual figure is more likely to be between 70 and 100."