BETTY HYATT. Walking into Betty’s building on Penn Avenue, residents are greeted with beautiful curtains on the windows and furniture in the entryway, creating a welcoming atmosphere. Betty has lived in Alliance housing for four years, longer than most of the other places she’s lived in throughout her life. In that time, she’s put effort into making her building a pleasant space for everyone who enters. She utilizes her enjoyment of shopping and keen eye for interior design to make her building homey for herself and her neighbors.
Because Betty lives with a disability that impedes her ability to get around, she takes pride in creating an inviting home. She is the youngest of a large family and spent much of her
early adulthood helping care for her aging motherin-law in Florida. She fell into tough times, struggling with mental health issues and addiction, which made it difficult to care for herself and her children or maintain a stable home.
Betty shared that after a few years of couch hopping, she knew she “needed to stay the hell out of trouble”. She moved back to Minnesota and got help beating her addiction by spending some time in the Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP) in the Shakopee Women’s Correctional Facility. Upon her release she began to create a better life for herself and her youngest son Antwoin who lives with her.
Now Betty is 10 years sober. She is still battling health issues, but her stable home with Alliance has allowed her to get proper medical treatment and build a life for her family. She is proud of her son, who plays football and makes the honor roll at school. She looks forward to one day starting her own interior design business – which she has already named “BB’S Creative Design” – and becoming her own boss.
MARKYSHA WILSON. After growing up in foster care, Markysha set out on her own at 18 years old, wanting to forge her own path to her future. She spent years living in shelters, often in conditions that were not fit to live in. When she was able to attain an apartment of her own, Markysha faced accusations from her landlord, who charged her for damages she was not responsible for. Because she was also dealing with health problems, abuse from her domestic partner, and caring for her daughter, she knew she needed to move.
Markysha’s case worker introduced her to Alliance Housing in 2018, where for the first time, she encountered staff that were committed to helping her reach her goals. She recalls that Alliance members provided flexibility and support as she recovered from her abusive situation. When she made a mistake that ended in a 4-month period in jail, Alliance held her unit so she could return to a safe home and rebuild.
When Markysha’s Alliance unit became unsafe due to neighbor challenges, Markysha worked with Alliance staff to move to a new, stable home within Alliance’s portfolio. Markysha’s stable home has aided her as she keeps up with probation classes. The weight of uncertainty on her shoulders has lifted, and she anticipates continuing to grow toward her goals.
by Kali Saffert