I’m an architect in Venice Italy and I really appreciate your work.
I’m starting to work on “the small houses” project but some are floating too. I hope we can meet someday!
Thank you all for your interest in the Homeless Homes Project (HHP). We have had such an out pouring of positive feedback, great ideas and lots of encouragement. Thank you all for donating money, time and ideas to this project and expressing you concern for the homeless. We wanted to give everyone an update about the project and answer some of the questions that are coming at us. This email includes information about….
Searching for a New Space
Interning and Volunteering
Talks and Lecture
Searching for a New Space
At the moment the HHP is looking for a new space. We are ourselves are homeless… The warehouse that we were working in was a donated space. We stored all of our materials there that we found on the streets and those donated by many kind people. But that space had to close due to some fire and structural issues. We had to leave. Currently we are looking for another place to hold workshops and store all of our materials. If you know anyone that may have a space for us in Oakland please let us know.
Even an outdoor lot will do!
I have a passport and I am happy to go anywhere to teach people how to build. All I need is a ticket, a place to stay, some food, tools, people and somewhere to work. These homes are easy and fun to make, its not rocket science, anyone with a few skills can throw one together with the help of friends.
Local workshops will resume when we find a new space. Keep your ears open….
Your email address will be added to our mailing list and we will let you know when the next work day is.
Many people have been interested in starting a Homeless Homes Project in their city or town. I would love it if other people would build these types of homes for their community! We can include photos of your work on our Homeless Homes Project Website. Check out the website to see some of the process photos and start it up! You don’t need anyone’s permission to help homeless people, grab some garbage and go for it. We will eventually make a “How to Video” but you can see a lot from the photos. You don’t have to be a trained engineer to make these. You just have to like to build.
If you are interested in getting high resolution photos or permission for the photos go to homelesshomesproject.org use any photos you see there and credit Brian Reynolds our photographer. Brian wants to make them available for everyone to have access to these images. There are also images available at gregorykloehn.com
Interning and Volunteering
We welcome help with this project. There are so many different jobs that could be done to help people. When I return in the Fall we will start up again (When we find our space…) In addition to building we would like to find an artist that can help us with silk screening images of the houses on to clothing found in the streets. Lot’s of things to do if you are interested.
What does the city say?
We are just putting these out there. We have yet to hear from the city.
How can I get your books?
The book Homeless Architecture is about the homeless and how they build out of found objects. I will be working on a book that shows people how to make these homes.
They are not available yet… I am busy building more homes…If anyone wants to help me put together a “How to Book” I am open to working with an architect who has the ability to do technical drawings. But mind you no 2 places are alike.
Talks and Lecture
I also love to talk about the HHP and what I do, so please let me know of any speaking opportunities you may have available. I have a Power Point presentation, and a clean shirt, that shows the progression of this project.
Material donations will have to be put on hold until I can find a donate a space.
We welcome any kind of help to continue the project. We also welcome help to start a development committee who could research grants and help us apply for them.
You can go to homelesshomesproject.org and click on the Donate button.
Or send checks directly to:
Gregory Kloehn and the Homeless Homes Project
2864 Helen St.
Oakland, CA 94608
Please contact me at:
Thank You Again,
Gregory Kloehn and the Homeless Homes Project
Your name, age, occupation, where you live?
Gregory Lincoln Kloehn, 43, Artist, Oakland, California
When did the idea of the project come to you?
About 3 years ago.
Where did the idea for the project come from?
From the homeless themselves. I use the same materials they used to build with.
Do you work solo? Or do others help?
Mostly I work alone but many people have contacted me and want to help. Now I am trying to organize workshops and volunteers!
Is each home given to one homeless person, or are they put in one place for anyone to use?
I give them to the homeless that I know living right in my neighborhood. I make a home for each person or a couple. Some people live just down the block from me. They are my neighbors.
How long it takes you to build one of this house ?
Alone a week or so faster with help.
You use salvaged materials found into trashes, but what materials more precisely?
– OSB Board
-2x4s, 2x6s, 4x4s
– Any real wood of about any size
– Glass Refrigerator shelves
– Auto Glass
– Hinges (any size)
-Door locks (for doors and windows)
-Screws (11/2″- 3″)
– Nails (for nail gun & framing and roofing)
-Glue (silicon, painters caulk)
-Paint brushes & Rollers
-Exterior paint (semi gloss preferred)
-Saw blades/ disc grinder blades
-Large Casters (200+ lb. load)
I suppose that you have to buy some material as glue or paint, what is the cost for one house then ?
Some of the above items I find others I have to buy. Some local business donate items.
Your houses are really colorful, is there a meaning behind it ?
That is the paint I found on the street. But I do like vibrant colors.
It was important for you to do those mobiles ?
Yes absolutely! Homeless people get moved by the city and need to relocate to a new area every few weeks.
When you first put one house in the street, what was the reaction of the people ?
People loved them!
And the reaction of homeless people ?
They are so happy! 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.
How many homeless people use your house ?
Right now 25 or so. One couple had their home burned, another stolen and one even sold his. It is tough out there. So I keep making more.
You mentioned on your website that if people want to help you, they are welcomed. So, how people already helped you ?
Tons of people have come out to help. But we just lost our space to work and I need to fine a new building or lot to hold the work shops in I can’t fit that many people in my studio. Please spread the word that we are looking for a space.
Have you planed to export your idea in other part of USA, or even in other parts of the world ?
I hope people everywhere start building homes for the homeless. I am happy to go anywhere to show people how to or encourage them just to start on their own. Send me a ticket and I am there.
Where did your interest in very tiny homes come from?
I have been doing construction for many years and I have a art degree. I combined my love of building with art and the joy I get from helping others. My interest in very tiny homes comes from building a lot of different styles of homes/condos and realizing that the smaller I went the happier I was. There is a spontaneity and playfulness in making small homes that traditional houses do not offer. It reminds me of making forts as a kid, no city planners, no architects, no crews, no bank loans, just my ideas and my hands and the stuff I find in the streets.
Why do you think they are appealing?
Tiny houses are striking a number of cords in our society. They are not just homes but fast becoming a life style option. They are, usually, (but not always) cheaper then regular homes, giving more people the opportunity of ownership. 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.
The tiny home movement is also embracing and mixing all forms of new and old technologies, making them hotbeds of ingenuity, creativity and environmentalism. Small spaces means that its easier to power an entire house with the sun or wind, and water can be collected, used, used again and reused with simple catch and filtration systems. Even black waste can be turned into methane and/or composite for food production. From the loner in a simple tipi, to the high tech self contained living pod, the tiny homes have something for everyone.
Many of the tiny homes are on wheels or small enough to be moved with relative ease. I think this degree of mobility is one of the most revolutionary aspects of the tiny home movement; What if you bought or built the home you wanted, then rented the land. Your customized home could follow you wherever you needed to be. If you built a home that followed you throughout your life, I bet you would be a bit more thoughtful in your choices.
WHAT ARE YOUR NEW HOMELESS SHELTER PROJECTS ALL ABOUT?
Its just getting started, so I don’t know exactly how its going to unfold, but the Homeless Homes Project grew from the large outpouring of people wanting to contribute to the homes I’ve been building for the homeless. Following an article in the Oakland tribune, I was inundated with emails of people wanting to help and I thought that I should channel this good will. So the Homeless Homes Project was started to bring people together to make simple, mobil shelters out of garbage for those living on the streets. As of now, people come to my shop and help me on the homes I already have in progress. Soon we are moving to a larger space that can accommodate workshops and larger builds. It would be nice to take these worships on the road and build with people in different communities and environments.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BUILD THEM?
I wish that I could say that I set out to house the homeless, but my motivation was not so lofty. At the time, I was working on a book about Homeless Architecture and following the various structures that are created by people living on the streets. I quickly became enamored by their resourcefulness to take objects found on the street and create homes and a livelihood from them. I was inspired to take these same materials back to my shop and put them together in a more permanent fashion. After about a week of collecting and building, I had a 21st century hunter/gather home, built from the discarded fruits of the urban jungle.
This sat at my studio for a number of months, just collecting dust. One rainy night, Charlene, a homeless woman I’ve known for some 10 years, asked if I had a tarp for her. I told her I didn’t have one
and I went back inside. As I walked past the home, it hit me,I should give her this. I ran back out and told her to come back tomorrow and I would have a home for her. She and her husband Oscar came back the next day, I handed them a set of keys and a bottle of champagne and watched them push it down the street. It felt so good that I started making another one that same day.
DO THEY HAVE NAMES?
I usually do come up with names for them while i’m working on them. R2D2, The Settler, Romanian Farm House, Uni-bomber Shack, the Tank and The Chuck Wagon are all some names I’ve given to them. With no two alike, its easy for them to take on a unique identity.
EVERYONE KNOWS YOU FROM THE DUMPSTER HOME, WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THAT EXPERIENCE FOR THIS NEW PROJECT?
The Dumpster Home taught me many lessons. Most importantly for this, or any project, it reminded me to stick to my original vision. Regardless of what others say, or what you may even say to yourself about an idea, if you think it has merit and you want to do it, you should just do it. Don’t let petty details derail your desires, you can deal with those later, what’s important is the essence of your ideas. I’ve made my share of mistakes and a lot of dumb stuff to go with it, but if you feel the persistent need to do something, it is better to do it then not.
So, for the Homeless Homes Project, I want to run with this free form building technique that I’m having such a great time with and make a bunch of prototype structures and give them away. I want to challenge myself as to what I can make a home out of, and in the process be able to make a difference in someones life.
WHAT ARE THE SHELTERS BUILT OUT OF? HOW WILL THEY BE UTILIZED?
The Homeless Homes are primarily built out of illegally dumped garbage and industrial waste. In the mornings, I get a coffee and drive around to the dumping hot spots in Oakland and see what I can find. I look for pallets, bed frames, futon frames, doors, plywood, OSB board, paint, packing crates, car consoles, auto glass, refrigerator shelves…etc. I basically look for anything made out of real wood, any tempered glass and sturdy frames for the walls. The only items I must buy are nails, screws, glue, paint brushes and saw blades. Everything else comes from the street or the dumpster.
When the home is completed, I push it out to the street, take some photos of it, then give it away. From that point on, I have no more say in it. The homes take on a life of there own. One was stolen, one was sold, one was firebombed, one is in a neighbors back yard with dogs living in it, the rest are still on the streets with people living in them.
WHAT IS NEXT?
With an endless supply of garbage and a large number of homeless, I know that I can keep busy for a while with the Homeless Homes. I’ve got a few new designs that I want to make with pallets and garbage. I would love to make a functioning city from garbage, or at least some businesses. I must also finish up a project in New York using four shipping containers. Bikes, carts and dumpsters are objects that I think about a lot. The most important place for me to be next, is in my shop. That is where my ideas become reality.
I love your work. I am on pinterest and am no one of importance. But one of my boards is “Small homes”. I was shocked at how many people follow me because of that one board! over 4500! I think portable, push or pull-able tiny homes or shelters could help so many of our homeless people. We have missions to house when them when it’s freezing outside, but that fills up and will only take them if they are sober. That can be a problem for some homeless people. Next challenge, finding eco-friendly plumbing and easy dumping of that. Good job!
I want to come by and see your work. I’m in Calistoga/Napa
You have my email. 561-789-0233
Hi, I just saw an article on the homeless houses you’ve built in Oakland. I’m from Flint, Michigan, and we have a lot of our own homeless. I’ve been inspired to do this in our city, and I’m wondering if you’ve run into any conflict with the project, in regards to the city, police, government, other people, or anything else.
I would like to hear about any achievements or setbacks you’ve had. Feel free to get ahold of me at any time.
You have some really great ideas and I think what you’re working on is admirable. I also enjoy your other pieces including the container houses and the animals. Are these also composed of upcycled and found objects?
Regardless, this is a very impressive body of work and I admire the degree of genuine utility you are getting out of these lovely creations. It’s always impressive to see a piece that possesses both qualities.
Wonderful work you are doing for the homeless. Great use of space and design! Bravo!
Potential for bicycle shelters too?
I ran across an article on my FACEBOOK news feed which showcased the work you’re doing to help the homeless. I just wanted to say, “Thank You!” You’re doing wonderful work!
Mooie aanpak van je creativiteit. Wees velen tot een zegen en breng hoop aan de slachtoffers van het kapitalisme. Gods onmisbare zegen toegewenst.
I love the spirit of your work. How do you decide who gets one to live in one of those teeny tiny houses?
Really cool stuff, I lived on the streets in sf Oakland an around the eastbay. Love the trash. Looks good
Awesome!!!! What a wonderful service you are doing!!! I was homeless for one month in 2001, and I would have loved to have had one of your houses.
You are an inspiration, Gregory! Your choice to use your talents to assist the less fortunate of our population instead of working to get rich has inspired me to do more for the less fortunate in my area. Thank you!
Your homeless homes are incredible, I was wondering whether or not you’ve ever considered expanding them out of California and into further afield places like The United kingdom, we are suffering from a massive homelessness crisis (just as everywhere else is) and it would amazing if you would come and maybe teach a few workshops on it and put a few up to help a people, I know its alot to ask but you never know whats possible until you give it a go..It would just be nice to know that even if i cant help everyone I could be part of something in which helps a few people find a home, Thank you -Freya Leonard, U.K (16)
Thank you for your interest in the Homeless Homes Project (HHP). We have had such an out pouring of positive feedback, great ideas and lots of encouragement. Thank you all for donating money, time and ideas to this project and expressing you concern for the homeless. We wanted to give everyone an update about the project and answer some of the questions that are coming at us. This email includes information about….
It is simply wonderful the things you do! God bless you! I wish this could be started in my town because there are so so many in need!
Keep up the good work.
God sees you…and just in case, I whispered your name into His ear.
Don’t stop doing for others, it is all that is counted. <3
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Hi! I discover just now your work, and I love it… and thank you for to help who are living in the street, the world needs more people like you…
Your work is amazing, blessings to you always.