FY22 Annual Report: Success looks like Summer

AHNI’s self-sufficiency program helped Summer become a homeowner

AHNI provides decent, safe, and sustainable housing that promotes stability for families, and creates community in Dubuque and Cedar Rapids.

Summer, mother of four, owned a salon until 2010. Her struggles with substance use disorder led to many challenges in her life including the loss of her salon. In 2014, she entered the residential treatment program Heart of Iowa, and has been in recovery since.

Summer went through many steps to become self-sufficient once again. After Heart of Iowa she went to a halfway program, followed by the Way Home transitional housing. During this time, she got to know the management at Affordable Housing Network, Inc. (AHNI). Because she was known to be reliable with paying her rent on time, the staff at AHNI encouraged her to fill out an application for the Family Self Sufficiency Program through Leased Housing, or FSSP. Participants construct personal goals as part of the program. As they make more money, the program adds the money that they would have spent on rent to an escrow account. Clients must reach the goals they set at the beginning of the program in order to receive their escrow account.

Summer began working at Goodwill and lived in leased housing. While in the self-sufficiency program that AHNI had suggested, she got a new job at Mister Carwash, where she could earn more and have more flexible work hours. She graduated from FSSP and received her escrow account, which had accumulated nearly $20,000. The next step in her journey was becoming a homeowner. In June 2022, she purchased her first home.

Summer is grateful to the people at Four Oaks and AHNI for their support during her journey from addiction recovery to home ownership. Summer says that AHNI staff really care about people. “It’s not just a place to drop off rent and complain when something is wrong. The people there understand how far I had come. They recognize accomplishments and know all of their tenants, and think of them as people.”

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