From homeless to homeowner, St. Louis woman who lived in car, tiny home village purchases own home

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 11:02 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - This week marks a major milestone for Toni, a St. Louis woman who lived in her car and then in the St. Louis Tiny House village, will move into her newly purchased home in St. Louis.

Toni, who asked we not use her last name, said a disability led to her losing her home years ago. She lived in her car, choosing that over shelters due to safety concerns. Six months ago, she was accepted into the St. Louis program with Magdala House which provides stable housing for the unhoused. News 4 first interviewed her in December.

The tiny homes, located at Jefferson Avenue in Downtown St. Louis, have helped 130 people graduate from the temporary program into permanent housing. Toni is the latest.

“I like the space, the freedom, something I could finally call my own,” said Toni.

Toni said she had good credit, but finding the funds for a down payment was the biggest challenge. She found programs that would assist with paying rent but not a mortgage. Calls to realtors and lenders went unanswered. Until she got through at Guild Mortgage.

“The market is a little tough right now, but sometimes it’s a matter of getting the money for the down payment or for closing cost, something to get them over that first initial hump, that first expense,” said Adrian Kleeschulte with Guild Mortage.

Kleeschulte helped Toni through their company’s program that helps first-time and low-income homebuyers.

She closed on the home, has her new keys in hand and moves in this week to a two-story home in North St. Louis’ Walnut Park East neighborhood.

“I turn in my tiny home keys, and it’s freedom,” she said.