Only 4 Years Ago He Was Homeless Living In His Car, Now He Bought His First House


By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

Chris Atoki was homeless 4 years ago but has managed to turn his entire life around after a moment of realization.

The previously homeless man has now bought a high first house.

Chris Atoki bought his first home in his 20s. This alone might not seem so unusual, but it was extremely special for Chris as he was homeless 4 years ago with less than a dollar to his name.

He gave up on his life but the moment of realization made him decide not to.

The Homeless Man Rose From Rock Bottom

Chris had a rough schedule for an 18-year-old. He woke up at 7 am every morning and went to class till 3 pm. He would then take a 2- hour rest before he went for his 12-hour shift, which began at 5 pm and ended at 5 am the next day.

He would take another sleep break and then go back to school again. Chris had to work harder than normal as he needed the money to pay for his mother’s rent.

“One day my manager at my job says he has to cut a few people’s hours and since I’m in school, he picked me to be one of those. I figured it was fine. I could still pay mom’s rent and I would be able to sleep in so yay right?” Chris reflected.

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But he was so wrong. It was only after 2 weeks that his employer let him go and stated that he was not working enough hours.

“Here I am 18 years old. The only job I had was filling trucks and I’m still going to school because that’s what I was taught you have to do to make it,” Chris revealed. “The problem is with no income and no parental help I lost even more.”

Chris could no longer afford to go to school even though he had applied for hundreds of scholarships. He then had a falling out with his mother and got kicked out of the house.

He was now jobless and homeless.


He tried to find refuge but was not welcome anywhere.

“I got kicked out in November in the cold. Tried to crash on my grandma’s couch. Didn’t last. Tried to stay at my girlfriend’s dorm. Nope, her dad didn’t like that. Understandable” Chris reflected.

Chris Realizes That He Had Hit Rock-Bottom

The only shelter that homeless Chris found was his car. This was when he realized that he had hit rock bottom.

“I parked in front of Walmart.  Freezing cold. Less than a dollar in my account. I think it was like $0.83 or something. No family. No friends. No money. Hungry. Felt like giving up. Cried. Tried to sleep.”

“I didn’t sleep. I was thinking about how much I hated everything. My mom, my dad, my father. My family. My job. College. My rusty car. People. But most of all myself. I told myself that my situation was an accumulation of why my life didn’t matter,” Chris revealed.

The homeless man was thinking about ending his life but had a great realization. He looked into the rearview mirror and realized that the “only person I could truly count on was myself.” This was when he found something to fight for.


Chris instantly went to the library and applied to whatever job he could think of. “I mean anything. Warehouse, factory, meatpacker, wedding DJ assistant, solar panel canvasser (twice), insurance agent, etc, and finally mattress salesman for a company where I had to go meet clients,” he said.

“I saved enough doing these odd jobs that I was able to put a payment down and get another car. I did this job for a while until driving 400 miles a day started to wear on me. Eventually, I applied to Mattress Firm and got the job,” Chris continued.

He was doing well now and earning a 30,000 annual salary. Chris was still homeless but was climbing up the ladder slowly.

“I couldn’t afford an apartment yet so I would shower at the gym next to the store and show up to work,” he said.

Chris was almost caught by a coworker when he overslept right before his shift. This was when he decided to look for a place and found a room for $550/ month. It was great for him and he planned to build upon that.

The Homeless Man Applied For Several Schools And Chose The Perfect One For His Situation

Chris went to The Lambda school as he felt that it was perfect for him. They offered their courses online and there was no down payment required. One was also given the opportunity to pay back the amount when they started to make a decent salary. The only issue he faced was that the school offered full-time courses and Chris was already working as a full-timer.

Rather than giving up, he contacted Austen Allred, Lambda’s CEO,  by email. He never thought he would get a response. “I didn’t think he would respond but he did. I never had the CEO  talk to me about anything. I didn’t even know who the CEO of Mattress Firm was (still don’t).”

His conversation with Austen pushed him to pursue his education, even if it wasn’t very easy.

“I kept at it through a few challenges but things were pretty smooth, plus my son came into this world,” Chris said. “Another reason to fight and push me. I wasn’t the best father when he was first born but I’ve corrected my mistakes and pushed on.”

Chris completed his schooling with Lambda and became a teaching assistant. “I wanted to help students achieve the same goals I did and get the same guidance that I wanted. I gave my all to each one of them and they know. All 100s of them.”

He then applied to a tech job in Philly when he received double his past salary. 

Finally, Chris Atoki became a homeowner and wants his story to inspire others. Against all odds, he succeeded. “I’m a 24-year-old black man with tattoos and was homeless just 4 years ago. To now owning a $350k home on 1.24 acres. If I can do it. You definitely can. I’m proud of myself.”

Credits: Chris Atoki

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