Choosing Her Own Path
Tabatha has a lot to be proud of and much to celebrate. She is part of Alaska Pacific University’s inaugural nursing program graduation class of 2022, having achieved an associate’s degree and graduating with honors. With her sights set on achieving a bachelor’s degree at the end of the year, she is looking forward to the future and life feels good.
But such excitement was not always the norm. Several years ago, Tabatha was a single mother struggling to make ends meet. She was living in a public housing facility operated by Alaska Housing and working for the state of Alaska when her 2-year-old son was diagnosed with special needs.
Life became especially difficult. There were many expenses and challenges to address from therapy appointments to finding suitable public daycare. Eventually, she was forced to quit her job with the state in order to care for her son. Scared and feeling helpless with nowhere to turn, Tabatha reached out to AHFC for help.
“I tried finding information online regarding additional housing assistance but I really didn’t know what to do so I went to the AHFC office in Anchorage looking for help but they were closed to the public due to COVID-19,” says Tabatha.
“An AHFC staffer saw me distraught in the parking lot and right there showed me how to find information on my phone. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without AHFC and the people there who took the extra time to truly care about me, my son, and our circumstances.”
— Tabatha, Alaska Housing Tenant
With help from AHFC team members, Tabatha was introduced to two AHFC services that offered a critical new path of possibilities. First, AHFC worked with Tabatha to review its Housing Choice Voucher option and matched her with a new rental unit that better suited her needs. Tabatha is enrolled in the associated Step initiative, which includes a set rent subsidy paid by AHFC for five years, and is scheduled to graduate out of the system in 2025.
“It is wonderful to have a landlord that goes above and beyond for their renters, truly caring for the space we live in and helping to create a safe environment,” she says.
In August that same year, Tabatha enrolled in AHFC’s Jumpstart, from which she has received two financial incentives allocated toward educational training. In 2021, Tabatha was awarded an additional $2,500 Education Scholarship through AHFC, as well as several Youth Summer Camp and Activity scholarships.
“There have been so many ups and downs throughout the past several years. Every time I have struggled I have been able to reach out and AHFC has been there to help.”
A New Outlook
With the future looking bright, Tabatha has big goals. In addition to finishing her nursing studies, she is working to improve her ability to be financially independent, broadening her understanding of financial planning, and focusing on expanding her financial literacy.
With new aspirations for employment stability – and a helper by nature – Tabatha made the decision to go into nursing. “I knew in order to be the best advocate for my son’s health I needed to understand medical terminologies and have the skill set to address his unique medical needs.”
“AHFC’s educational grants have helped make my future, and that of supporting my son, a reality.”
Accessing Housing Resources
Housing Choice Vouchers and Jumpstart services are just two of the many offerings sponsored by AHFC that help low-income participants secure quality housing and attain financial independence. Tabatha took the opportunity to move herself out of a difficult situation and dream of a different future – one that is already turning results. Just prior to achieving her associate’s degree this past April, Tabatha landed a position at a local medical facility. She began her new employment adventure May 31, 2022.
What advice does she have for others who might be struggling?
“Don’t be afraid to reach out and let people help you through the tough times,” says Tabatha. “Everyone faces challenges in their life and every time I needed help someone from AHFC was there for me to say, ‘Let’s see what we can do,’ from securing a safer living space for my son and I, offering a path for schooling, finding a job, and more.”
What’s next on the horizon for Tabatha? Several things! First, achieving her bachelor’s degree by the end of the year and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.
Next, she plans to pay off the loan of her run-down car and buy something newer and more reliable. She is also continuing to save money for the purchase of a home and plans to enroll in AHFC’s HomeChoice™ education class soon.
Having been a part of her journey, the team at AHFC can’t wait to say “congrats and welcome home!”
Click here to learn more about all the resources AHFC has to offer that can assist Alaskans in gaining financial independence.