An Oakland artist is ingeniously battling homelessness in Oakland, California: he builds small houses out of materials he can find in the streets, with each edifice costing around forty bucks.
The tiny homes are made of pallets, bed boards, washing machine doors, and other bizarre objects that catch Greg Kloehn’s attention. Mr Kloehn first noticed that homeless people built shelters from whatever they find in the street, and he wanted to make a house like this.
He jokes that he constructs “illegal homes out of illegal garbage.” The cost of one house is “$30 to $40,” Kloehn told RT.
“The real cost is just in the wheels: I buy large casters for the bottom, so that they are mobile, and then nails, and screws, and paintbrushes. But everything else I get for free,” he said.
The houses are just comfortable enough to lie down in a warmer place than a cardboard box, and the homeless in Oakland are “so happy,” Kloehn told the Independent. “One cried and got on his knees to thank me. They think I should make them bigger and suggest improvements. They like to decorate them themselves.”
Currently, about 25 people use the homes. One couple’s home burned down, another one was stolen, and a third was sold.
“It is tough out there. So I keep making more,” Kloehn said. It takes about a week to finish a house, depending on the style.
“There are some quick, easy homes in maybe two or three days. But some more elaborate ones, some more Victorian-style ones, some different dome shapes – it takes a little bit longer”.
Some people choose to change their homes, Kloehn said to RT. “One guy remodeled the house and made it twice as big!”
The creator chooses funny names for the homes: R2D2, The Settler, Romanian Farm House, Uni-bomber Shack, the Tank and The Chuck Wagon to name a few.
“They are not just homes but fast becoming a life style option. They are usually cheaper than regular homes, giving more people the opportunity of ownership,” he said.
“By skipping the traditional 30 years mortgage, perhaps the tiny home movement could even reshape the way we think about work and what we want to accomplish with our lives.”