Artist Gregory Kloehn has been quietly addressing the problem of homelessness in Oakland by building a number of unique, tiny homes for the homeless using repurposed and salvaged materials. This initiative is called the Homeless Homes Project and through it, Gregory has already provided several homes for the area’s homeless. To build the homes, he uses primarily illegally dumped garbage and industrial waste solving several problems at once.
To build these tiny homes, Gregory uses anything that can somehow become part of a home, including a discarded washing machine front, which is used as a window, as well as bed frames, sofa frames, and even refrigerator shelves. The main building blocks he uses to build these homes are pallets, plywood, OSB, packing crates and more. The pellets are normally used to build the basic frame and base, though he also uses more creative building blocks such as car consoles. When searching for building materials, Gregory looks for anything that consists of real wood, tempered glass and sturdy frames. He then buys the nails, screws, glue, paint brushes and saw blades needed to turn the refuse into homes. When a home is completed, he pushes it into the street, takes a few photos and then gives it away.
All of the homes are also fitted with wheels so the owners can move them around if they need to. The homes also come equipped with locks for security and privacy. These homes are usually only big enough to fit a bed and some storage space, and take about three days to construct. The houses are also painted with bright colors and given fun names, such as R2D2, Romanian Farm House, Uni-bomber Shack and The Chuck Wagon, which Gregory believes helps give the new owners added hope for the future.
He started the project on his own, but since then several local community groups and volunteers have expressed an interest in helping him. They are currently planning to move all activities into a larger space that can accommodate workshops and allow for larger builds.