American designer and builder Gregory Kloehn is using salvaged trash to make houses for the homeless. Called the Homeless Homes Project, Kloehn upcycles mobile shelters from items he finds in dumpsters.

homeless homes project

The origin of the Homeless Homes Project

Before starting the Homeless Homes Project, Gregory Kloehn was building miniature houses to sell. One day a homeless couple came past and asked if he had a spare tarp. Kloehn didn’t have a tarp but he did have a small wooden house he had built. Then he realised, this was a home that the couple could use.

“I had this home sitting right here,” Kloehn said. “I thought, ‘Why am I keeping it?'”

This marked the beginning of the Homeless Homes Project.

homeless homes project

The goal of the Homeless Homes is bringing together imaginative people and discarded materials to make sturdy, innovative and mobile shelters for homeless people.

Each house in the Homeless Homes Project is built with materials found on the street. Pallets, doors, refrigerator parts, discarded plastic sheeting and washing machines are all upcycled into walls, roofs, doors, windows, wheels and locks. Much of the material is from illegally dumped trash piled up on the streets of semi-industrial West Oakland, California.

homeless homes project

The foundation and floors of the houses in the Homeless homes Project are typically made from wooden pallets. With the help of volunteers, Kloehn can make a home in 2-3 days out of five pallets. Several homes are also insulated with pizza delivery bags.

homeless homes project

Each house is big enough to sleep in, with cut-outs and windows to bring light in. The structures are unique, one repurposes a washing machine door for a window, another uses reflective bike panels across the entryway. Depending on what he finds, Kloehn also brings in homely touches like shelving units, mirrors, cup holders and even paintings.

homeless homes project

All of the homes are on wheels so they can be moved to accommodate the mobile lifestyle of their residents. They all also have pitched roofs so that rain runs off. As you could imagine, for homeless people this is a major life improvement. Wonder, one of the homeless people to receive a house from the Homeless Homes project, describes it as the best house she’s had in five years. Her new home is parked next to her former ‘house’, an old sofa draped with a tarp. She opens the front door – made from a discarded picnic table – to showcase the pizza bag insulation. “It gets real hot in here,” she says with a smile.

homeless homes project

Sources:
Homeless Homes Project
Gregory Kloehn

Thank you Kerry for telling us about this awesome project! If you have content suggestions you can always mail us at upwhat [at] upcyclethat.com

13 Thoughts on Homeless Homes Project

  1. [email protected]

    <3 this… what an awesome idea!!! New Orleans should do something like this

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  2. That anyone in this wealthiest of nations should be homeless is unconsionable. Thank you for helping to remediate the results of rampant greed and profiteering by the elites in this country.

    Will these shelters be removed or dismantled by police because they are not permitted to exist where they are placed? If so, how will this be dealt with by Kloehn and others?

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  3. I think this guy is awesome! with a big heart <3

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  4. It scares me that people might kill them for their homes.

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  5. Sad thought, eventually the City will want a permit to construct, a permit to park, set safety guidelines. Then you’re back to square one. If I lived anywhere near you I’d help to transform the mobile shelters.

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    • Towns need a space out side of town to put their homes also ruled if it gets messy house goes

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  6. Awesome idea, my thought also a great idea for storage sheds, or kids playhouses. I live in a small town surrounded by farms where there is a lot of useful building materials. What a bonanza for recyclers if they could get permission to use this stuff. I just moved from a medium sized city where The dump had a covered building where you could salvage useable items and the workers would look the other way. The comment by pat is so true, however I think one might be able to shame the city into leaving them alone with a media blitz. I love the creative looks of these homes, God bless this man for this. I hope his idea spreads and blossoms,

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  7. Wow, things like this renew my faith in humanity. Thank you

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  8. This is wonderful! I hope more people do something like this and that governments leave the homes alone.

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  9. You have a good heart and you are giving some dignity to people who need it. These shelters though should be considered a temporary solution with the vision of actual housing as a higher goal. Such as with Dignity City in Portland.

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  10. i don’t know how to share this!! i want to…

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    • At the end of the article, there are the share options… Go, go and share it, this is such a great idea!!!!

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  11. I love this idea… this is the most interesting proyect I`ve seen lately. Great great job, congrats!!!

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