John’s life hasn’t followed an easy path. His family life growing up was challenging. As he got older, alcohol became an issue and eventually he found himself homeless for several years.
Often the feeling of hopelessness was overwhelming and he constantly wondered if he would ever get back on his feet. A chance encounter at Helping Alaska, a nonprofit organization that serves Fairbanks residents who are in need, was the catalyst that changed his life.
An Unexpected Turn of Events
John spent his early and late teen years in Fairbanks. As an adult, John was homeless in the area when he heard from a friend that Helping Alaska had a program available to help low-income residents with heating oil.
John had a family member in need and made his way to the offices of Helping Alaska to inquire about aid being offered for heating oil, never imagining it would lead to life-changing opportunities.
While filling out the paperwork for heating oil assistance, John struck up a conversation with the receptionist. John was living in a family member’s car at the time and asked if there were any housing programs that might offer assistance for his circumstances. He was immediately referred to Alaska Housing Stabilization and Recovery. He filled out an application and it didn’t take long before he found himself enrolled in the program.
A Space of His Own
Last spring, John moved into a quiet apartment setting in Fairbanks through Alaska Housing Stabilization and Recovery. His goal was to secure a job that provides enough financial security to pay his rent, utilities, and bills. John works with a case manager from Helping Alaska to assist him in reaching those objectives. Having stable housing allows him to focus on taking the steps necessary for success. It also provides an opportunity to be around his family every day – in the same home – which has been a complete joy.
“It’s such a relief being able to actually rest, relax and not worry about being on the streets. It is hard to explain how comforting it is to not be stressed and worry every day about where I’m going to stay or where I’m going to live.”
– John, Alaska Housing Stabilization and Recovery Participant
Bridging the Gap
The goal of Alaska Housing Stabilization and Recovery is to get people off the streets and provide short- and long-term housing stabilization for Alaskans facing homelessness. John’s progression through the program is an example of how this innovative approach addresses the full spectrum of housing insecurities.
Each eligible client receives stability assistance, moving expenses, rental deposits and up to 12 months of rental assistance. This allows a household to adapt in a stable environment and use program resources that will encourage them to become self-sufficient.
Alaska Housing Stabilization and Recovery uses federal funds and is being deployed in collaboration with nearly 30 community partners across the state, including Helping Alaska.
John is working toward becoming financially stable, and sees a better future for his young family – one that is filled with possibilities. He has become an active advocate for Alaska Housing Stabilization and Recovery.
He encourages friends, family members and people on the streets to reach out and connect with the many types of available programs. But he also recognizes that half the battle is wanting help and being willing to receive assistance. He hopes by sharing his story he will inspire others who might be struggling on the streets to “reach out for the resources that are there to help themselves.”
We recognize that John’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.