Oakland artist Gregory Kloehn rose to fame in 2011, when he created small homes made out of transformed dumpsters. Taking what he learned from making these mini living spaces, he's started a new project building brightly colored tiny houses out of found materials and donating them to the homeless.
Kloehn builds his houses using discarded materials he finds on the streets. Oakland has a horrible illegal dumping problem, so it's rad that he's solving two problems with one project. Although made from trash, Kloehn's homes are sturdy. They're also constructed with the basic living needs of the homeless in mind: they're built on wheels so they can be moved around, and they provide privacy, shelter from the elements, and a space for sleeping (some are even big enough to stand in).
Kloehn equips each home with mirrors, windows, peepholes, and doors. He also uses some pretty crafty upcycling techniques – for example, pizza delivery bags as insulation! He told KQED that he was basically riffing off improvised lean-tos and shelters he'd observed on the street: "I just ripped a page from the homeless person's book, and then took my basic construction skills, and came up with something."
So far, Kloehn has made ten tiny homes.
Kloehn's Homeless Homes Project is a good reminder that finding a place to live in the Bay Area is challenging, but we're pretty fortunate that most of us have options. Homeless people don't. I'm glad to see that Kloehn and several others are creating practical solutions for those in need.
All photos by Brian J. Reynolds, used with permission of Gregory Kloehn