Determined to help, in 2012 Preston founded Lamon Luther, named in honor of his grandfather Lamon Luther Wilson, who taught him woodworking skills as a child. Located in Villa Rica, Georgia, the 20,000-square-foot facility has between eight to 12 employees, all of whom have been directly impacted by the housing crisis.
To date, Kloehn has built 35 miniature homes for the homeless in Oakland and San Francisco. All construction materials (except for the wheels and a few other odds and ends), are sourced from garbage. He also runs workshops and give lectures, teaching other artists and handypeople the tricks of the trade. Following his lead, other builders have made homes for their neighbors in Los Angeles, Tucson, Arizona, and even abroad.
Photo: Jay Young, The Evansville Courier & Press via Associated Press
Deconstruction is new to the Twin Cities, and one Minneapolis social enterprise called Better Futures Minnesota is leading the charge. It offers work crews for hire to provide deconstruction services, property maintenance, appliance recycling, groundskeeping and more. But off the clock, the men who work at Better Futures also get help with housing, healing and recovery, and personal coaching — helping these formerly incarcerated or homeless men turn their lives around.
A demolition boom is upon us, and we have a choice as a community. Demolish and send it to the dump, or deconstruct for less money, less waste and more green jobs.
United Kingdom: A London-based ‘social enterprise’ known as The Living Furniture Project has been established to weave together three unlikely elements: designer furniture; reclaimed materials; and a more promising future for the homeless.
The new venture is run by a team comprising some of the capital city’s leading ‘eco-designers’ who are training a group of London’s homeless in the art of upcycling using unwanted furniture or other waste materials reclaimed from the local area.
‘Our partner designers teach our homeless apprentices to build the furniture in our fully-equipped workshop,’ explains founder Alastair Sloan. ‘Apprentices also work alongside a mentor – a professional and experienced furniture-maker who teaches them valuable skills and ensures a beautiful, crafted final product.’
Reclaimed wood expert Nic Parnell, one of the specialists in the design pool, says the project has emerged at a good time given that the number of homeless people in London increased by 42% between 2011 and 2012 alone. In addition, UK households landfilled around 670 000 tonnes of furniture last year – 45% of which was reusable, according to research from the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).