Mary Jane and Brandon Kutyna discovered the Home Start Program when the home they had been renting for seven years went up for sale. They were ready to buy but this particular home fell through and within three months, they were renting again at another location. Kodiak is such a tough place to buy that even when you’re ready to purchase, things don’t always work out.
The Kutynas wanted to make sure that they had everything in order to make an offer when another home came on the market. They needed space for their three small children and two dogs and wanted the peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t have to move on short notice.
KIHA’s Rental Assistance Program supplemented Brandon and Mary Jane’s rental payments for three years while they shopped for homes and saved. During this time, they also participated in the Financial Freedom Plan through KIHA. Using this plan, qualified housing participants set savings goals and receive education on budgeting in return for an extra 10% reduction in rent costs. One of their first goals was a slush fund of $750 for car repairs.
Although Brandon says that budgeting was hard at first, it’s really important! Once Mary Jane and Brandon started to track their spending, everything became easier. They downloaded a budgeting worksheet from the AHFC HomeChoice Class that they used again and again until saving became second nature.
During their home buying journey, the Kutynas had several homes fall through at some point in the buying process. Finally, they found a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home in Chiniak on five and a half acres. Unlike the other properties that they tried to purchase, this one was move-in ready. The buyers helped to expedite the closing process and it only took two weeks!
After years of patiently searching Brandon and Mary Jane have found the home of their dreams. They love living way out in Chiniak and have a lot to keep them busy with over five acres of land. Mary Jane’s advice to current or prospective housing participants is that using a rental voucher and housing assistance requires some give and take but is worth it in the end. The Kodiak community is small but very helpful if you’re willing to work together.