This big-hearted man is building miniature homes for West Oakland's homeless.
Posted by NationSwell on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Greg Kloehn has long been fascinated with the structures that he saw his homeless neighbors building. Not long after he got an iPhone, he started taking pictures of their huts and and shacks, noticing their ingenuity and creativity demonstrated in the building of various shelters. He published those photos in a book, but his interest in how the homeless lived didn't stop with a collection of snapshots.
Kloehn, a contractor and artist, came to know the homeless he was photographing and learned their stories. He thought he could help them, and so he set about building a tiny home for no money, using illegally dumped materials found all around West Oakland and his own skills and tools. Shelia, a woman he had come to know through his photography, had come by his home to ask for a tarp. He didn't have a tarp, but the next day, he gave her something better: his first tiny house, which came complete with wheels, a lock on the door and a bottle of Champagne.
Since then, Kloehn has constructed more than 30 more homes, each of them a different design and built with found materials, like microwave oven doors for windows. Kloehn set up the Homeless Homes Project as a way to spread this concept of tiny homes for the homeless, and he also holds lectures and gives workshops on constructing the homes. Dozens more homes have been built by volunteers as a result of these efforts.