Oakland artist turns trash into homes for the homeless
1/8/14 By Matthew Artz – san jose mercury news
OAKLAND — Gregory Kloehn can turn just about anything into a home.
The Oakland artist spends his summers in Brooklyn living in a dumpster he outfitted with granite countertops, hardwood floors, a rooftop deck, plumbing and a barbecue grill.
But his proudest creations are even cozier structures that he gives to homeless people in his neighborhood.
Kloehn’s “little homeless homes” are about the size of a sofa, but they come with a pitched roof to keep out the rain and wheels so recipients can roll them around town.
So far Kloehn has built 10 of the tiny houses using mostly illegally dumped trash that piles up on the streets in a semi-industrial section of West Oakland. The foundation is usually discarded wood pallets to which Kloehn will add accouterments such as windows, a mirror and a cup holder. Several homes are insulated with discarded pizza delivery bags.
Wonder, a homeless woman Kloehn has known for several years, parked her new house on the sidewalk next to her old home, which consisted primarily of a tarp draped over a couch.
“This is the best home I’ve had in five years,” Wonder said as she opened the front door — made from a discarded picnic table — to reveal the pizza bag insulation. “It gets real hot in here,” she said.
All the homes have gotten rave reviews. “They say this is just night and day, especially when it rains,” Kloehn said. “Once your mattress gets wet, it’s just terrible.”
Kloehn, a 43-year-old transplant from Denver, is a sculptor who “got on a housing kick” after building his five-unit live-work condominium complex from scratch.
Looking for Homeless Assistance?
If you are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, or know someone that is homeless, help is available. HUD, along with many other Federal agencies, funds programs to help persons who are homeless. Local homeless assistance agencies provide a range of services and assistance, including emergency shelter, food, housing counseling, and job training and placement assistance. For general information on available resources, please visit the Resources for Homeless Persons page on the HRE.
Purpose of Programs
As amended by the HEARTH Act, Subpart C of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act establishes the Continuum of Care program. The purpose of the program is to promote communitywide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, and State and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness; promote access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families; and optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
For the entire article: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/comm_planning/homeless
* * * HOMELESS DOES NOT MEAN VOTELESS * * *
Homeless People’s Voting Rights - http://www.nationalhomeless.org/projects/vote/court.html
On any given night, approximately 107,000 Veterans across the country go to sleep on benches, in back alleys and under bridges. Roughly twice that number will experience homelessness at some point this year. Drastic action must be taken not only to drive down the amount of homeless Vets, but keep a new generation off the streets. And the action we took on a cold night last week was just one of the many programs we’ve undertaken at VA.
In the U.S. today, homelessness is a serious issue for Veterans and non-Veterans alike. But all too often, the homeless are invisible—or a nuisance associated with city living. It’s especially troubling to me when I consider each was once an ammo bearer, a radio operator, a team leader, or a rifleman—and that each one potentially once wore the same patch I did. For this reason, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki pledged over a year ago to end Veteran homelessness within five years—and he did it as part of a government-wide effort to find solutions to the problem once and for all.