homeless homes project

Oakland Artist Creates Portable Homeless Shelters

Homeless Homes ProjectGregory Kloehn, an Oakland, California artist, founded the Homeless Homes Project, a community-based initiative in which a team of volunteers builds tiny portable homes to donate to homeless residents of his city.

Kloehn sifts through illegally-dumped trash, commercial waste, and discarded household items to find materials that he can convert into portable homeless shelters. The floors of the houses are generally made with wooden pallets. Some are insulated with pizza delivery bags. He has used discarded plastic sheets to create rainproof roofs, a washing machine door for a window, and wooden pieces for skylights.

The houses are built with pitched roofs so that rain will run off them. The small doors on the shelters have mirrors and windows to allow daylight into the dwellings. The doors have locks to provide their residents with privacy and security.

All of the houses have space to sleep, windows, shelves, a door, and amenities such as a mirror and a cup holder. One shelter has space for a pet carrier and a small grill. The portable homes do not have electrical outlets or running water.

All of the homeless shelters are on wheels. Being portable allows the shelters to accommodate their residents’ nomadic lifestyle.

Colors for the shelters are chosen to give them a sense of vibrancy and spirit. They are painted in colors such as cotton candy pink, canary yellow, sky blue, and hot red.

The only items that Kloehn has to provide himself are screws, nails, glue, and gas to travel around the city looking for building materials. He estimates that it costs him $30 to $50 to build each home.