A California-based artist recently gave up peddling expensive sculptures to rich people to build shelters for the homeless — made completely out of garbage.
When Gregory Kloehn realized that his pricy sculptures were just “sitting there” in wealthy people’s homes, he decided he needed to make a meaningful change, he told the Oakland Tribune. Inspired by the home environmental movement, the Oakland, Calif., artist started building and selling non-traditional houses, and giving away mobile shelters to people in need.
The resourceful artist collects illegally discarded garbage and uses it to build shelters that are about the size of a sofa, according to the news outlet. The foundation is usually composed of wood pallets and some are insulated with pizza delivery bags. All come equipped with wheels and a pitched roof and some have a mirror and a cup holder.
To date, Kloehn has built 10 such homes.
“They say this is just night and day, especially when it rains,” Kloehn told the Tribune of how homeless people typically react. “Once your mattress gets wet, it’s just terrible.”
Kloehn even spends some time during the year living in makeshift cramped quarters.
During the summer, he stays in New York City in a home made from a steel dumpster, Inside Edition reported in 2011.
He put about $4,000 into his 6-feet by 6-feet abode, which he says is about the same size as a camping tent, according to the New York Daily News. He shipped the home from Oakland to New York City and stays there with his wife whenever they’re in town.
As word of his homelessness project has begun to spread in Oakland, Kloehn has seen an influx of volunteers willing to help. He noted on his Facebook page that people have come forward to donate money, materials and workspace, and he’s invited supporters to come by and help him build.
Kloehn isn’t the only advocate out there who’s using unconventional materials to build housing for people in need.
Timothy Pain, CEO of Forest YMCA in London, was tired of seeing vulnerable youth graduate from his group’s supported housing program, only to be priced out by the area’s soaring rent.
That’s when he got the idea to launch mYPad, a program that imports shipping containers from China and turns them into affordable studio apartments.
Though the living space is small, each is equipped with a shower, toilet, sink, bed, fridge, cooking area, microwave, TV, heating and clothing storage.
“We wanted to come up with something that would be affordable on one-third of minimum wage,” Pain told CNN.