It Feels Good To Make A Difference

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Getting On The Front Lines of Rent Relief

As a former journalist, Andrew Kenneson spent the early part of his career painting a story for others to experience a particular subject. Now an Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) navigator for Kodiak Island Housing Authority, he is living an experience that is directly and positively impacting the lives of others — and it feels good. 

Long interested in housing as a social narrative, Kenneson made the move from journalist to ERAP navigator because he really wanted to be on the front lines of a broad, important issue.

Like many small communities in Alaska, housing in Kodiak is expensive — the average rental is $1,500 per month. It is a big issue in the community made even more challenging because of COVID-19; the difficulties that many were experiencing quickly became startlingly real. 

“It feels good knowing your efforts are making a difference in someone’s life – it is cool. People taking care of people.”​​​​​​​

— Andrew Kenneson, ERAP Navigator, Kodiak Island Housing Authority

Working Hand In Hand With The Community

Kodiak Island Housing Authority is one of the many statewide partners of housing experts brought together by Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC). As ERAP navigator, Kenneson works hand-in-hand with people in his community who are directly benefiting from AHFC’s Alaska Housing Rent Relief efforts.   

"Housing costs are generally the biggest bill people pay each month so our ability to help alleviate the stress of that burden is significant,” said Kenneson. “In many cases, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation’s Alaska Housing Rent Relief is able to take this bill off the table — something that is truly transformative for people, and a benefit for both renters and landlords. Being able to wipe this debt clean for an individual or a family is amazing — you don’t see it often.” 

Facilitating An Immediate & Positive Impact

Kenneson notes that because AHFC has done the heavy lifting getting Alaska Housing Rent Relief in place and bringing expert statewide housing partners together, help is getting into people’s hands more quickly.

The application process put in place by AHFC is streamlined and efficient, which means the efforts from partners like Kodiak Island Housing Authority can have immediate impact. It is that larger, overarching aspect that brings it home for Kenneson, as the broader efforts align with his personal values.