The shared livingroom at the KIHA’s Life Builders transitional housing. Brianna Gibbs/KMXT photo
For some, the transition into adulthood is no easy task. Adolescents are forced to confront the responsibilities of bills, work and independence, all while navigating the hurdles life throws at them. In Kodiak, this transition is a little easier thanks to a transitional housing option available through Kodiak Island Housing Authority.
Jessica Gardner is the case manager for Life Builders. She says the program is offered for 18 to 22 year olds that helps them make the transition into adulthood and living on their own.
— (Life Builders 1: :43sec "It’s been a long … a little over a year.")
The house can hold up to nine people, but only two live there now. One of the current residents, Sean, said the program has been a true blessing in his life.
— (Life Builders 2: :43 sec "I’m really surprised … see more people here.")
Bert Montiegel (Mont-uh-gul) is the live-in staff person at the house and said the program doesn’t punish residents who have made mistakes or have problems. The goal is to help them develop strategies to overcome different obstacles in their lives.
— (Life Builders 3: :45 sec "I am kind of a … make lemonade.")
Gardner said there are seven spaces to fill and encourages anyone interested in the program to apply.
— (Life Builders 4: :44 sec "Typically what … and then we move them in.")
Some of the responsibilities in the house include working or attending school at least 30 hours a week. The program requires 30 percent of a tenants paycheck go towards rent and 20 percent be put in a savings account to be used toward anything they want once they graduate from the program. The house also keeps a curfew and asks that each tenant pitch in with chores and buy their own groceries. Gardner said everything is case by case and the staff is there to assist anyone who can’t swing in financially and are struggling to find a job.
Sean said the program has helped him get his life back on track.
— (Life Builders 5: :06 sec "It’s really helpful here … or anything.")
The house accepts male and female tenants, who are housed on separate floors, and Gardner said people usually stay anywhere from six to 18 months.