Located on a former RV Park just north of Downtown St. Louis sits a village of 50 tiny homes. The brightly colored homes are part of a transitional housing program between the City of St. Louis and The Magdala Foundation.
“It means everything to me,” said Toni, one of the residents.
Toni moved in three months ago. The program provides housing, food and services like job placement and counseling. It’s funded by the city for around $1.2 million a year.
The plan is to expand in the new year.
“The City has already made arrangements to add an additional 50 homes here,” said Thomas Mangona, president of Magdala Foundation. “That’s going to be a big lift for people who want to get in here, it’s going to double the size of this place and it’s going to double our ability to help people get independent.”
Since launching in early 2021, they’ve successfully graduated 113 people. A successful graduate means someone who has found stable income and secured permanent housing.
The program can help a fraction of the unhoused population in St. Louis and it’s not for everyone.
Director Garfield Duckett says applicants are referred by caseworkers and must want to work towards a goal of permanent housing.
“Is this individual ready for transitional housing? Is this individual ready to be integrated back into society?” he said.
In the meantime, the City of St. Louis is working to help the rest of the unhoused community in St. Louis. This month they launched their Winter Operations which now requires all city-funded shelter beds to be open 24/7 until March 31. There are currently 708 shelter beds available.