my information

--- Issued August 1, 2013

In 2013, we are extremely proud to feature in our annual calendar 12 of our employees who started their careers with us when they were residents of public housing. We think their individual stories are compelling enough to feature on a monthly basis throughout the year -- to honor these employees and to help celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Housing Authority of the City of Erie:

Aleksandr Vakhnin -- August 2013

In 1996, Aleksandr Vakhnin and his family came to Erie from Kyrgyzstan, formerly part of the Soviet Union, to reconnnect with the family of his wife, Valentina, and for greater religious freedom.

“A year later, we were able to rent a Housing Authority apartment on Bird Drive. Because I had a large family of six, and we were experiencing financial hardship, we could not otherwise have afforded suitable housing.”

The Erie Housing Authority provided a four-bedroom apartment at an affordable cost for Aleks and his family, “for which we are very grateful,” says Aleks.

In 1999, he took advantage of the Step-Up Program provided by the Authority, and after finishing, was hired in 2000 to a full-time position as a Maintenance Laborer II at Harbor Homes.

“This job helped me to provide for my family, and I was able to have medical insurance for my wife, my children, and myself. Also, in 2003, we were able to afford our own house on Potomac Avenue and move out of public housing.

“During my 12 years of employment at the Erie Housing Authority, I grew in my profession from Maintenance Laborer II to Maintenance Aide.

“I am thankful to the Housing Authority administration for providing housing for my family and a stable job for me.

“Also, I am grateful to my English teachers, my friends, and my coworkers, who helped me and were there for me during the hard times of starting over in a new country.”

In 2010, Aleks bought his current house in Kearsarge. “I like my job at the Housing Authority. I intend to stay here and retire.”

Aleks notes that the religious freedoms of this country have allowed him to officiate on Sundays at the Russian Baptist Church near 9th and Parade Streets, where he has been co-pastor for 10 years.