Helping a Young Mother Open a New Door
Becoming financially independent has been a long, but worthwhile road to travel for Kristina of Wasilla. So when she could finally say, “We closed on a house!” it was no small statement for the recently married mother of two children ages six and three.
In 2015, Kristina was single, pregnant with her first child, and knew she needed to make changes in her life. Hoping to find more work opportunities and be closer to family, Kristina moved from Idaho to Alaska with nothing more than a suitcase and her dog.
A Game-Changing Opportunity
While Kristina was able to transfer to Alaska with her employer, expenses were tight. When her daughter turned 15 months old, Kristina was approved for public housing through Alaska Housing. It was a game-changer, offering Kristina the opportunity to lower her rent payment so she could start chipping away at debts and even save a little money.
“I honestly never thought I would evolve out of poverty,” says Kristina. “Taking the first step to sign up was filled with raw emotion but every step has been worth it and throughout every application, the team at AHFC has treated me with grace and provided incredible support.”
Finding Affordable Housing
Using AHFC’s Housing Choice Voucher, Kristina was able to find a single-family home with a fenced yard, which better suited her needs over an apartment.
“The housing program was so important because it allowed me to progress much faster than I would have on my own,” she says.
Kristina participated in AHFC’s public housing option for four years. During that time, she took full advantage of AHFC assistance programs. In 2018 she enrolled in Alaska Housing’s Jumpstart program, which helps participants set career goals and provides incentives to improve their financial situations. Kristina received three work rewards totaling $750, as well as $900 in support services for transportation costs and interview clothes. She also participated in Jumpstart’s savings match, receiving $1,500 that ultimately helped with the purchase of the family’s new home.
“It was incredible to have a caseworker in my corner,” says Kristina. “Dawn Hoebermann was always my cheerleader. She took conversations personally, treated me with kindness, and cared about my progress – she truly humanized a dark world.”
– Kristina, Former Alaska Housing Program Participant
Taking Steps Toward Financial Independence
Kristina also participated in AHFC’s Step program, which helps families in public housing and voucher programs work toward financial independence. And Kristina benefited from AHFC’s Alaska Housing Rent Relief when her work hours were temporarily reduced.
A Home to Call Their Own
Prior to the purchase of the family’s new home in January 2022, Kristina completed AHFC’s HomeChoiceTM homebuyer education, and benefitted from a $250 reduction of her closing costs.
“AHFC’s education classes have great resources and really cover the bases,” says Kristina. “I learned how to shop for a home, look at interest rates, and understand the process which made a huge difference when it came time to actually buy. The entire experience felt very personal. The AHFC team truly cared about my well-being and cared about me finding a home.”
Working Hard for a New Start
Kristina married in May 2022 and is currently working as a contractor accountant. She is enjoying the added time with her children and having the opportunity to make their new house a home.
“I can’t say enough about the team at AHFC and the programs they offer,” she says. “They helped me change my life and I am truly grateful.”
Today, Kristina hopes her story can be an inspiration to others who may be facing similar situations as she once did.
“I want another single mom who's struggling on her own to see this and say, ‘I can work through this and I am empowered to do this and I can with this assistance.’ That’s the whole point in having these resources is not that somebody else is going to step in and make this magical, one-time thing happen. It’s that they have the capacity to take charge of their own life. They have the resources to be independent, and to learn and grow on their own.”
– Kristina, Former Alaska Housing Participant
We recognize that Kristina's story is exceptional and some Alaskans may be in need of safe, quality, affordable housing. If you are facing homelessness or are in need of resources, we encourage you to contact Alaska 2-1-1. This free, confidential resource can help you to locate assistance in your home community. Dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-478-2221 or visit alaska211.org.
AHFC’s Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher programs maintain waitlists statewide. See openings in your community here.