This Man Saw a Problem, And Used Trash to Fix It.
By: Amanda Froelich,
Dumpster diving is a topic that is rising in popularity. Just take a peek at Rob Greenfield! This activist won’t hesitate before jumping in a dumpster, but he’ll also take time to spout reasoning behind why we should work hard to ‘waste less’.
According to him and other sources, Americans waste about 40% of their food supply. As startling as this statistic is, few decide to do anything about it – or take into consideration the amount of other supplies being thrown away. For that reason, Gregory Kloehn’s art project to help the homeless and make use of excess trash is just that much more incredible.
The artist from Oakland recognized that there is an excess of illegally dumped trash and an abundance of homeless people. So what did he do?
Instead of building sculptures that he could sell to rich people to decorate their homes, he decided to focus his efforts on helping the homeless population in California.
He dumpster dives, and uses what he collects to build small, one-room shelters for the homeless.
And his work is receiving big attention.
Not just from the media, but the many people whose lives he’s helped transform.
One of these little “homeless homes” is about the size of a sofa.
But a protected, lovingly-made shelter even that size can mean the world to someone living on the streets.
Every one of the homes is made with a pitched roof so rain water will run right off.
And if the owner needs to move, it can easily be wheeled to its new destination.
The foundation for each mobile homeless shelter are usually made from discarded wooden pallets.
Kloehn first began his career as an artist impressed with the desire to create sculptures…
But peddling his creations apparently got old, and now he’s passionate about creating art that will continue to inspire others.
Using his craft to build houses, he know whatever he creates will go to good use.
For Wonder, a homeless woman Greg helped, his work is deserving of heartfelt praise.
According to Wonder, the shelter he built for her is the best she has had in over five years.
So moved by his ambition and ability to help homeless people, Greg published a book called “Homeless Architecture.”
It’s obvious he truly cares for what he does, as well as the people who he intends to help with his creative projects.
Even when his patrons don’t have a conventional house to work with…
He makes something work.
When Greg began, he was just making houses to sell.
But then one day, a homeless man came by his studio to ask for a tarp.
All Gregory had was a tiny wooden frame he was working on, equipped with a built-in kitchen, water tank, and small trap for human waste.
It then hit him: this was a home this man could use.
Someone could use it, and it would dramatically change their life.
He obviously can’t build houses for all of Oakland’s homeless.
But he doesn’t intend on stopping anytime soon.
Mr. Kloehn has thought about starting classes to teach others how to make these houses. “A lot of people who hear about what I’m doing want to get involved,” he stated. “Maybe we meet someplace and put a couple homes together.”
Whatever happens, at least this resident has found an inspirational way to use his craft to positively impact others.
Many people have been so moved by his projects they have sought him out on his Facebook page and donated to what he is doing. You have the opportunity to get involved as well.
Together, if all follow their passions and seek to collaborate for a higher purpose, beneficial change will result.