‘Hand up’ for Fairbanks mother leads to homeownership

Pregnant with twins and with eight months of sobriety under her belt, Jennifer was looking for a stable home to raise her babies in Fairbanks.

She needed a way to pay rent and save money; she signed up for affordable housing with Alaska Housing.

Stability in housing provided by Alaska Housing plus lots of hard work allowed Jennifer to move through the ranks at the company where she was working.

Jumpstart is available to participants of Alaska Housing’s public housing programs and encourages individuals to increase income from employment and decrease dependence on housing subsidy. The program supports families, like Jennifer and her twins, who are working toward economic independence.

Because of Jumpstart, Jennifer says she was able to save money while paying off debts.

Entering her third year of Jumpstart, Jennifer felt ready to move into a larger place outside of Alaska Housing’s public housing program – that was, until she saw rent prices. While she knew she could afford a three-bedroom apartment, she knew that putting a large portion of her income toward rent could limit her financial growth and future opportunities.

Like many families living in public housing, Jennifer aspired for more. She looked into buying a home. As it turns out, the hard work Jennifer put into her first years in public housing paid off. Her credit score increased more than 100 points, and she had a low debt to income ratio, which made her eligible for a home mortgage.

“The more it looked possible, the harder I worked,” Jennifer said. “I took on a second job and picked up my pace.”

Jennifer just purchased her family’s first home. With keys in hand, she reflected on Jumpstart.

“I feel like social programs are meant to work exactly how it has for me, not as a handout, but a hand up,” Jennifer said.