Artist Gregory Kloehn is giving new meaning to the tired adage, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Except in the case of his ongoing project, Homeless Homes, the word "treasure" should be replaced with the phrase "e...
For the past several years, Kloehn -- a California-based artist specializing in "social irony" -- has been transforming gently used garbage and salvage into the building blocks of portable homes. Chalk it up to the rise of the Tiny House Movement, the project aims not to put a bandage over the epidemic of homelessness, but to provide an essential tool that can help individuals in the long uphill battle against poverty -- a safe place to reside.
The shelters are no larger than a sofa, crafted from reclaimed wood and plastic found on the street by Kloehn and his volunteers in Oakland, usually over the course of two or three days. Equipped with wheels and a roof, and built on a foundation of discarded wood pallets, the mobile houses differ in size and shape but all supply the same overall benefit of creative shelter.
"Our goal is to bring together imaginative people and discarded materials to make sturdy, innovative, mobile shelters for the homeless people," Kloehn writes on theHomeless Homes Project website. "By sourcing our materials from illegal street dumping, commercial waste and excess household items, we strive to diminish money's influence over the building process."