Who is eligible?
All families in the Step Program are eligible and encouraged to participate. Those in the Classic or Set-Aside programs who wish to increase their income through work and decrease their dependence on housing assistance are also eligible.
Is participation mandatory?
Families that anticipate paying 50 percent or more of household income for rent and utilities under the Step fixed-rent schedule are considered most at risk for not being able to pay rent. These families will automatically be enrolled in Jumpstart’s case management services at their next annual examination.
How do families enroll?
Step participants will be provided enrollment information at each annual scheduled examination. New housing participants will be able to enroll in Jumpstart once they enter the Step Program.
If a family participated in a previous Alaska Housing Family Self-Sufficiency Program, can they still participate in Jumpstart?
Yes, and they are encouraged to do so.
Is there a waiting list?
No, there is not a waiting list to enroll in Jumpstart.
How often will a participating family meet with their Jumpstart mentor?
Once enrolled, participants will work individually with their Jumpstart case manager to establish a schedule that fits their family’s needs and goals. Some families may be able to meet their goals with minimal assistance while others may need and desire more intensive one-on-one services.
How long can a family stay in the program?
Families may participate in Jumpstart for up to five years, or for three months after the end of their participation in housing assistance, whichever occurs first.
What communities is Jumpstart available in?
Jumpstart is available in all locations where Alaska Housing has either a Voucher or Public Housing program.
What if a family member already has a job when they enter the program?
If an adult household member is already working an average of 30 hours a week or more, that family member will not be eligible for work incentives. However, the family will still be able to select up to $3,000 from the other incentives. Jumpstart may also be able to provide referrals and educational opportunities to enhance career advancement.
How does the savings match work?
Alaska Housing will match savings up to $500 per year for a maximum savings match of $1,500. The savings match is limited to $500 per year, so if a family enters Jumpstart in year three, they will still be eligible for a match of up to $1,500. The savings match will be paid out when the family’s housing assistance ends.
If a family drops out, does their rent increase?
No, participation will not affect a family’s rental amount.
How do Jumpstart and the Bridge program work together?
When a family applies to Bridge for assistance during a hardship, the Bridge committee will carefully weigh the efforts a family has made toward meeting their own financial needs. The committee will look at participation in Jumpstart as an indicator that the family is making such an effort.
Although the Bridge committee may award short-term relief to a family who is not participating in Jumpstart, they will recommend the family participate. Families that return to the Bridge committee seeking assistance that have not followed through with the committee’s recommendations are not as likely to receive assistance again.
Do families graduate from the program?
Families graduate from Jumpstart when they have met their financial goals or reach the end of their participation in housing assistance.
How can I get more information?
To learn more about Jumpstart, call 1-877-AKGOALS or email FSS@ahfc.us.