Helping Tenants Get a New Start
For Allyssa, who is the third generation working in her family’s property rental business, being able to offer some tenants a fresh start is one of the most rewarding parts of her work.
The Fairbanks-based property manager partners with Alaska Housing and the nonprofit Helping Alaska to support tenants in precarious situations.
Relief During the Pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, job uncertainty and reduced work hours meant that some of her tenants struggled to pay rent. Alaska Housing Rent Relief offered security to Allyssa’s family business and to their tenants.
“It lifted a weight off of their shoulders and it (the income) was guaranteed for us. We didn’t have to evict anyone,” Allyssa said. “The Rent Relief was really great for us as a company and for our tenants who were going through that uncertainty of ‘Am I going to get my 40 hours? Am I going to be able to pay rent?’”
Partnering to Help Others
Now, Allyssa’s family is accepting tenants through the new Alaska Housing Stabilization and Recovery program that tasks navigators at participating nonprofits with identifying unhoused individuals and helping them move into short-term stable housing such as a hotel. The navigators then assist participants with support services they need, including locating a suitable rental unit. Once they move into their own home, the tenant can receive up to 12 months of rental assistance.
Allyssa shared that she was hesitant when Helping Alaska first reached out to see if she had available studios for program participants. After learning more and looking through applications, she says she felt good about the partnership.
“It gives people a second chance to reestablish a home and have that part of life that, okay, this is mine, this is my safe place. I have a roof over my head. I have electricity, I have running water. I have a bed I can sleep in. It's really been great, I think, for everyone involved.”
– Allyssa, Fairbanks Property Manager
‘A Great Experience’
Allyssa understands why some landlords are hesitant about partnering with rental assistance programs but said for her it’s been “nothing but a great experience.”
“Everyone goes through different seasons in their life,” she said. “If you have the ability to help people, help. You never know who that person is or what they’ve been through and how your help will impact their life.”
A Team Effort
Even after Allyssa’s tenants settled into their new units, Helping Alaska remained actively involved. She said that they are in touch with her weekly and she feels that the process has been a true team effort.
“They really stay involved because I think they genuinely care about these people. Just like I genuinely care about all of my tenants,” she said. “I want them to be happy. I want them to be comfortable. I want them to enjoy where they’re living.”
Her advice to other landlords? “Don’t be too hard on people who need a little help because sometimes they’re the best tenants and the sweetest people. They’ve just had a hard knock the first part of life and have been through some stuff. Give them a chance.”