HUD’s programs serve lots of people in lots of ways. So many ways, in fact, that it’s sometimes hard to put a face on them, to really see how those programs are improving the lives of those we serve.
Which is why our HUD Seattle office was pleased to receive a copy of a letter sent to the Spokane Housing Authority by an Iraq War vet, about what HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher rent subsidy has meant for him and his kids.
“I have been a beneficiary of the Spokane Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher program for almost six years now. I am an Iraq war veteran and a single father of three children. When I was first accepted into the Section 8 program I had just gained custody of my three young boys and our financial situation was pretty bleak. Over the last six years we have struggled as I put myself through school while also providing basic needs for myself and my children. It has not always been easy but I am happy to report that I graduated this last summer from Eastern Washington University with two Bachelors of Science Degrees. Shortly thereafter I accepted a position with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland Washington. Because of this I will be withdrawing from the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
“The reason I am writing this letter is to thank you and all the staff at the Spokane Housing Authority. Without your support and the support of other social programs, I would never have been able to further my education and move up into the middle class. It is programs like yours that help struggling families survive, and give them the opportunity for upward social mobility. Unfortunately, this is becoming more difficult in our society today.
“I thank you again from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of my entire family, for the work that you do and all the assistance you gave to my family over the last several years. I am not sure where my family would be now without all of you. Our future looks bright for the first time in a long while and I wanted you to know that it is because of these social programs and the work that you do. I hope this letter conveys in some small way the gratitude that my family and I have for you and your organization.”
People come to HUD and its partners for help. They are almost always, simply seeking a decent, affordable home so that they may find a path to greater financial security. Given funding constraints we usually can’t help everybody who knocks on our doors. But finding them a place to call home is just the first step in the help we hope to provide.
Ultimately the best definition of success for HUD and its thousands of partners is when a family no longer needs our help, when they’re able to stand financially on their own two feet, when they’re self-sufficient like this veteran and his kids. Families like this one are the reason the people at HUD, and our partners, go to work each day. They are the very core of why we do this work.
Leeland Jones is the Regional Public Affairs Officer for HUD’s Region 10.