Oakland Artist Builds Homes for Homeless with Illegally Dumped Trash

Steve KinsmanStarred Page By Steve Kinsman, 9th Apr 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

An Oakland artist has built more than a dozen tiny homes for the homeless out of illegally dumped trash he has found on the streets of thew city.

Meet Greg Kloehn

Greg Kloehn, a successful Oakland, California artist, gets up every morning, brews himself a cup of coffee, and sets off on a search of the streets around his studio for illegally dumped trash for use as construction materials in order to build homes for the homeless.

He grabs anything that could possibly help him build a home: pallets, 2X4s, refrigerator doors, shelving, and paint.

An idea dawns

As a resident of Oakland, Greg was used to seeing scores of homeless people wandering the streets, and he wonders why the idea did not come to him sooner. Greg had long been fascinated with the ingenuity and creativity displayed by some of the city's homeless in fashioning temporary shelters for themselves from materials they found on the streets, and he decided to build one himself. "I wanted to build a home in a day, for no money."

A week later he had completed his task. He fashioned a tiny home on wheels, long enough to lie down in, not high enough to stand in, about the size of a compact car like a Mini Cooper.

Meeting Charlene

Greg had no plans for the little home he built. It just sat there in his studio, unused. Then, one rainy night this winter, a woman known only as Charlene, a homeless woman from his neighborhood, knocked on Greg's door. "She asked if I had a tarp," says Greg. "I told her I didn't."

Charlene left, and as Greg walked back to his studio he glanced at his portable home and thought "what am I doing with this? So I ran back outside, and said 'Charlene, come back tomorrow and I'll have a home for you."

Making a gift of the home

Charlene returned the next day, and Greg wheeled the structure out to the street. There, he gave her the key to the refrigerator door that served as the entrance to the home, along with a bottle of champagne.

Greg says "As soon as I gave it away, it felt so good. Why didn't I think of this sooner?"

An ongoing effort

Now, every morning, Greg gets up, grabs his cup of coffee and heads out to the streets around his studio to look for illegally dumped trash that appears every night and to pick through it to find material for building, and he is helped these days by a team of volunteers. "Everyone's really happy. Lots of hugs, kisses and happiness," Greg says. "That's the best part for me."

Since he presented his first home to Charlene, Greg has built more than a dozen little homes on wheels and gifted them to the homeless of Oakland, and now he has been invited to conduct workshops in Portland, Oregon, in Boston, and even in South Africa.

Link: Utah Man, Once Homeless

All images from upworthy.com

Tags

Greg Kloehn, Homeless, Homelessness, Steve Kinsman, Trash

Meet the author

author avatar Steve Kinsman
I live in California with my wife Carol, where I have been practicing professional astrology for 35 years. I write articles on astrology, but I enjoy writing on a variety of other subjects as well..

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Comments

author avatar Donald Pennington
10th Apr 2014 (#)

Kudos to him.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
10th Apr 2014 (#)

Indeed.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
10th Apr 2014 (#)

One man, making a difference, helping others rather than being selfish - an every day hero.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
10th Apr 2014 (#)

Yes!

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author avatar Jerry Walch
10th Apr 2014 (#)

What a great idea.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
10th Apr 2014 (#)

Absolutely!

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
10th Apr 2014 (#)

What an amazing man !
Well , God bless him ...that's all I can say ...and God bless you Steve for sharing this one with us .
Stella ><

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
10th Apr 2014 (#)

Thank you Stella. It's nice to hear some good news, isn't it?

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
16th Apr 2014 (#)

Bless that man initiative as well good heart, something our government in the three levels should learn, don't give handouts teach a man to fish so he can eat for a lifetime

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
16th Apr 2014 (#)

Yes indeed. Thank you for commenting Fern.

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