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Nonprofit providing tiny homes to local veterans

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Posted at 10:49 PM, Jul 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-07 23:39:14-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — For U.S. Marine Corps veteran Justin Keding moving to Florida was a no-brainer.

"My parents are down here and it's warm, so yeah, good to me," he said.

But finding his new tiny home in west St. Petersburg was a recent stroke of luck.

"[A] Buddy of mine saw it on Zillow and said 'Hey this is perfect for you.' So I called the next day, got to see it, and then the day after I put in an offer," he said.

Shortly after, his offer was accepted.

"Oh I called my mom and I started crying," he said.

And when you learn about the mission that made this home possible you just might start crying too.

Sabine von Aulock is the project manager for Celebrate Outreach's "Tiny Homes for Veterans" campaign.

She tells ABC Action News that the non-profit hopes to keep vets off the streets by offering them affordable tiny homes in the area.

"Our mission is to end and prevent homelessness," she said, "It is income-restricted which is defined by the city of St. Petersburg."

She adds that Keding's home is the first they've done so far after some fundraising and several years of work with the city and Contractors—and some design help from some USF students. And most of it was done for free or at a heavily reduced cost.

"There is a tremendous amount of good stuff in this community and that's what we have to focus on and I am very pleased and proud to be part of the solution," she said.

And as Keding makes plans for his future he hopes to see other veterans in a similar position and soon.

"Anytime you can help out veterans I think it's great to do. And I mean everyone just volunteering their time to come together is just awesome," he said.

Celebrate Outreach says they're now in the beginning stages of plans for their second tiny home in the area.

To learn more about the organization and the tiny home program, click here.