Gregory Lincoln Kloehn is an Oakland, Calif., artist who applies the old proverb ‘’one person’s trash is another person’s treasure’’ in a magnificent way. Using only materials illegally dumped on the city’s streets the artist builds tiny homes which he gives them away for free to the homeless people living right in his neighborhood.
The homes are about the size of a sofa and made of whatever objects that catch Greg Kloehn’s attention: pallets, bed boards, futon frames, doors, plywood, OSB board, auto glass, packing crates, car consoles, refrigerator shelves and any sort of material that can make a home to be sturdy. Each home is equipped with a pitched roof to keep out the rain and wheels so users move around town, while some also have a mirror and a cup holder in addition.
Although all the houses are very colorful, there is no meaning behind it. Greg confesses he likes vibrant colors but the fact that the homes look so nice is just a nice coincidence since this is the paint he founds on the street.
The only items that the artist must buy are nails, screws, glue, paint brushes and saw blades, therefore the cost of one house is less than $100 each.
Greg Kloehn is being building tiny homes for homeless people for over 3 years and is determined to continue his project. Each home is unique therefore the amount of time required for finishing depends on the home’s style. The more elaborates ones, such as those constructed in Victorian-style, may take about a week to finish, while the simple ones may take just two or three days. Currently, about 25 people use the tiny homes made by Greg.
Homelessness is a persistent problem in the U.S even though billions of taxpayer dollars are allocated each year to support shelters and social service initiatives. Besides the suffering that the lack of a home causes, homeless people also have to face the legal consequences of their condition. Oakland’s public safety laws require municipal workers to periodically sweep up and destroy the belongings of people living on the streets. Greg Kloehn hopes to circumvent this unfortunate situation with his mobile tiny homes.
Photo by Brian J Reynolds