A Unique Perspective on Senior Housing

230811 EVELYN GOUGHNOR KLB 0931   Medium

The importance of having safe, quality, affordable housing available for seniors isn’t a new concept for Evelyn.

The long-time Wasilla resident spent years helping seniors find housing in the community. Evelyn worked with Wasilla Area Seniors, Inc., as both executive director and housing director, which gave her insight into the housing needs of seniors – and offered an opportunity to help.

That included applying for Alaska Housing Finance Corporation’s Greater Opportunities for Affordable Living grant which helped fund senior housing projects. She also earned certification as a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspector, working to ensure rental properties met HUD quality standards.

“Back when I first started working there, this area had hardly any senior housing. That’s one of the reasons we built apartments for seniors here. We put a 20- to 30-year plan together to build and grow because we knew the senior community would continue to grow.”

– Evelyn, Williwa Manor Resident

Getting First-Hand Experience

Today, Evelyn is part of that senior population. Since 2019 she has been a resident of Williwa Manor, Alaska Housing’s senior housing complex in Wasilla. Evelyn lives just a few hundred yards away from the senior center where she spent part of her career and is a neighbor to individuals she once served.

“Through my previous experiences with Alaska Housing, I know they’ve done a lot of really good stuff for Alaska,” Evelyn said. “And by living here I’ve experienced it for myself. Before I just knew about it. Now I’m experiencing it.”

‘A Great Place to Live’

Williwa Manor has been a significant benefit for Evelyn. Each unit is on the ground floor, which is important to her because of a medical condition that makes climbing stairs a challenge.

She also has a corner unit with a wide swath of space that provides a perfect area for her young grandkids to play when they come to visit. With five grown children of her own, most of whom live in the area, family gatherings are frequent.

“It’s a great place to live and it’s a great community,” Evelyn said. “I love that there is a senior center close by and there are a lot of people that you can befriend here. You know, I can honestly say I know the names of everybody who lives here.”

We recognize that Evelyn’s story is exceptional and some Alaskans may be in need of safe, quality, affordable housing. If you require housing 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 maintains waitlists statewide. See openings in your community. Seniors can also find information from our Senior Housing Office or by calling 800-478-2432.