When you notice someone muddling their way through a garbage can or dumpster, you might immediately think they are homeless. But if you are in Oakland, California and see a man dumpster diving, it may not be for the reasons you think.
Gregory Kloehn is an aspiring artist who is pushing his creative skill to a whole new level. But instead of creating murals or sculptures and putting them up for a sale in a local art gallery, Kloehn is mastering his trade while helping the homeless population at the same time.
In a city that is unfortunately prone to illegal waste dumping, Kloehn regularly sifts through the contents of any dumpster or dump site he stumbles on, and uses those items to build mobile homes for the homeless.
Made mostly of recycled or repurposed material, he pieces his mini creations together with whatever he can find. And nothing is off limits. Items range from old carpets, washer and dryer doors, pallets, and even refrigerators.
Kloehn builds these small one-room shelters on wheels so they can remain mobile for those living inside.
And though they are small (about the size of a standard sofa), they become a beacon of hope to those who now call it “home.”
Kloehn started this venture after meeting a homeless man who stopped by his studio and asked for a tarp for shelter. This happened to come at a time when he was working on a tiny artistic wooden frame with a built-in kitchen and water tank.
That is when Kloehn realized his project could become a livable shelter that the man could use. His creativity was immediately put to work, and the first would-be corner sculpture for someone’s mansion became a new home for a man who desperately needed it.
Seeking no compensation for his time in building these structures, Kloehn has started to receive national attention for his willingness to make a difference for the homeless population of California.
He has published a book titled “Homeless Architecture,” and now accepts donations through his website at HomelessHomesProject.org.
He is even considering classes where he can teach other people how to build these same structures.
While Gregory Kloehn can’t solve California’s homeless problem single-handedly, he is certainly changing the lives of many. He claims to have no intentions of stopping his forward momentum, and has already become an inspiration to people around the world who will undoubtedly follow in the footprints he is leaving behind.