Artist Gregory Kloehn uses his crafty knowledge of construction and design to build miniature houses for people living on the streets in Oakland, California. He combs the neighborhood for trash that has been illegally dumped, collecting everything from cargo pallets and window frames to pizza delivery bags and washing machine doors. Using these found materials, he constructs sturdy and stylish shelters that have wheels attached for portability and convenience. These sofa-sized homes are given out freely to the homeless people in the area as an alternative to sleeping on the street or inside poorly constructed cardboard shelters.
The artist’s ingenuity and resourcefulness are apparent from his creations. The houses are not only practical shelters to keep residents warm and dry, but they’re also colorful and creative works of art. Apart from the basic foundation, many of them include surprising touches such as a skylight, windows made from washing machine doors, insulated walls made from pizza delivery bags, space inside for a mirror or shelves, and reflective panels sourced from bicycles. According to Kloehn’s Facebook page, since most of the materials are found on the streets, the total cost of each home is only $30 to $50 for nails, screws, glue, and gas money.
Kloehn first became interested in building homes for those living on the streets after a homeless couple came to his house last year to ask for a tarp. While he didn’t have a tarp, the artist offered them the only thing he had in his studio–a tiny wooden house equipped with a kitchen, water tank, and a small trap for human waste. Since then, Kloehn’s initiative has grown into the Homeless Homes Project, which hopes to make a difference through creativity and ingenuity.