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Helpline in the news: Non profits struggled alongside clients during recession

Helpline House is thankful to Alion for sharing his story, including Helpline's support as he and his family rebounds from the Great Recession.

Editor's note: Ten years after the Great Recession, the Kitsap Sun is looking back how lives were changed and the ripples still felt today. Follow along in print and online at

A decade ago, Allion Mansfield sat atop the real estate boom of the early 2000s. As a successful realtor living in Los Angeles, life was good.

Then came 2008. Then came the housing market crash.

“As banks kept closing, deals got harder to close,” he said. “I had built my life on the income I was receiving, and when the recession hit, I lost a ton of money in the stock market crash.”

He did what he could to reduce expenses, but eventually, he hit on hard times. He lost his home to foreclosure, his savings and his children’s college funds. He and his kids picked up the pieces and reluctantly moved back in with Mansfield's mother back on Bainbridge Island.

As a single parent, he scraped by through minimum wage jobs, working late shifts while his mom took care of his kids. After paying the bills, he didn’t have much left. In need of help, he turned to Helpline House, a social services agency on Bainbridge.

“It’s like oxygen,” he said, “just to know I wasn’t carrying the burden by myself, that there (were) resources available, that there (were) people who could point me in the right direction if they couldn’t help me.”

Mansfield was just one among the swell of those who in the years following the recession were forced to turn to turn to social services agencies and nonprofits, which themselves struggled during those strained times. In that surge, they saw a cross-section of society.


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