A Public Housing Success Story
As tenants move in and out of units owned and maintained by Alaska Housing, Terria Ware, asset supervisor, works to process paperwork and makes make move-ins and -outs smooth.
On a particular notice given by a resident wishing to vacate, Ware says a special note was written:
“P.S. I attached some pictures of me in my cap and gown and a copy of my degree :) I did it!”
The notice to vacate was from RaShawn, who moved in as a resident in 2012. RaShawn says before her success, she was homeless with two young children.
“My children and I were experiencing an episode of homelessness. We previously were staying with a family member and (then) at Clare House,” RaShawn said.
Making a Transition
As a single mom, RaShawn said transitioning from the emergency shelter for mothers and children to AHFC’s public housing, then enrolling in Jumpstart, was a changing point in her life.
“Alaska Housing provided me the help, support and encouragement I needed to obtain safe, affordable, and permanent housing for my children and me,” she said. “The biggest surprise was working with so many staff who truly wanted to see me succeed.”
Empowered and Accountable
RaShawn says the Alaska Housing employees she worked with throughout her journey were supportive, empowering, and held her accountable so she could achieve success.
“It was very apparent that Alaska Housing employees enjoyed working with people and were passionate about helping people succeed. They were not just there for a paycheck.”
She called out one employee in particular. Terria Ware made a big impact.
RaShawn says Ware was more than a landlord. She was a professional and personal mentor.
“Terria was always fair, firm and consistent,” RaShawn said. It’s the tough love from Ware that RaShawn says pushed her to achieve more. “Because of her I never stopped pursuing more or better, and I never settled.”
Building a Strong Foundation
One of RaShawn’s biggest accomplishments was earning her degree in Health Care Reimbursement from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She decorated the top of her graduation cap. It read:
“The question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me?”
RaShawn graduated in May 2020 with a 3.8 GPA while working and going to school full-time, and homeschooling her youngest child who has a disability.
She worked through Alaska Housing’s JumpStart and says she built a strong foundation for her and her family’s future.
“I think that if I learned anything about myself it is that I have the strength of a mustard seed and that I can truly do whatever it is I set my mind to. I am the only person who can stop me.”
Her advice to other tenants living in public housing? “Take advance of the help and resources Alaska Housing has to offer like kid’s summer activities, scholarships, and financial literacy resources.”
Financial Independence and Freedom
Using the skills she’s acquired and applying what she’s learned, RaShawn says she now has financial independence and freedom. “I am providing for my children and myself 100% alone without any government assistance.”
With a full heart, gratitude, and many accomplishments reached, RaShawn says she is ready to move out of public housing and start her next chapter. She and her family have plans to move out of state in a year.
Ware said it’s stories like RaShawn’s that make her love her job and the life changing opportunities that Alaska Housing provides.