Happy ending for homeless man who tried to rent a Chris Gatley property

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. A Springfield man, once homeless, has a new lease on life.

Jonathan Richter finally saved up enough money to rent an apartment, only to realize too late it was uninhabitable.

The property, owned by Chris Gatley was deemed dangerous by city inspectors and could soon be demolished.

The Springfield community pitched in to make sure this man has a roof over his head.

Richter thought he was just picking up the key to his new apartment Thursday evening. Instead he walked into a fully furnished home, including a television, bed and fully stocked kitchen.

It's a complete turnaround from where he was just two weeks ago when he thought he was going to move into the Gatley property.

"If someone who just became homeless walked through that place they probably would have sat there and cried for hours. I kind of shrugged it off. It's just another thing that happened. It's another wall I hit. I just either got to go through it or over it. I think I went through it this time. I'm pretty sure," he said.

The apartment Richter paid for had holes in the walls, ceilings and floors. There was no electricity or water. Trash filled the entire unit.

"I had a couple mental breakdowns. It's basically like being homeless," Richter said when he showed us that property two weeks ago.

Now, with the help of Hearts for the Homeless, he is ready to start his new life after being left by his father as a teen to fend for himself on the streets of Springfield.

"I like to think about people having a new beginning. I like to bring the community together. Have a little bit of everybody that comes, that plays a part in making all of this happen. Whether it's a T.V. here or a lamp there, everyone has a part in making these kinds of things happen," said Devery Mills with Hearts for the Homeless.

Donations from the community allows the organization to help people like Richter get off and stay off the streets.

A custom quilt was made by a volunteer for Richter.

Mills explains the story behind it to Richter.

"This quilt was made especially for you by a young lady who has a lot of health issues, but she made it especially for you. She put two hearts on there for you. She said that she wanted to make sure you were wrapped in love every night when you went to sleep," she explained.

"That's awesome," he said.

To say Richter is overwhelmed and thankful is an understatement.

"I'm not glad it happened to me but I'm glad it happened to me. It could have happened to someone that hasn't been through what I've been through. They would have taken it way worse," he said.

Richter has the support of his employer at Race Brothers Farm Supply as well as close friend Jack Norman-Hodges.

However, Richter said he's become used to disappointment.

"What you've been through what I've been through, a lot of it affects you but a lot of it doesn't. When you get someone new that's going through it, it will affect them way worse than it would affect me."

Richter tries to remain positive despite adversity.

"You just got to keep your head up and keep going. Life's going to throw stuff at you all the time. I've been to the point where people don't know what to do. I've been to the bottom a thousand times. I've climbed up a thousand times," he said.

At just 22 years-old he said he's learned a lifetime of lessons.

"The only thing I can tell people is just keep your head up and just keep moving. It can only get better," he said.

Hearts for the Homeless not only helps people get off the streets, but gives them the tools to stay off the streets. Some of the people they've helped have maintained stable housing for years.

The organization is working toward building a community for the homeless in Brighton later this year.