Alaska Housing Relief Deadline Nears
Anchorage, Alaska, June 24, 2020 – Alaskans who lost income have about 48-hours left to apply for up to $1,200 in mortgage and rent relief that was made possible through the federal CARES Act responding to COVID-19 hardship. AlaskaHousingRelief.org accepts applications until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 26, 2020.
As of 11:59 p.m. last night, 5,083 applications were submitted through the website, telephone and text. Each household represents an average of 2.83 members, totaling 14,383 individuals applying for relief. Based on applicants’ self-reporting, their average annual income loss is $21,992 per household with an average monthly housing payment of $1,417 for homeowners or $1,104 for renters.
"When the community hunkered down, it paused economic activity. Friends canceled their planned summer vacation to the state. I postponed a haircut. My family stopped dining inside restaurants. My mom delayed her trip to the nursery for spring flowers. Every one of these examples of delayed spending represents an Alaskan who lost income because of the (corona)virus. They are potentially eligible for the housing relief. I encourage them to apply before Friday’s deadline," says Bryan Butcher, CEO/Executive Director of Alaska Housing.
The majority of users (69%) to AlaskaHousingRelief.org have submitted applications using their mobile phones based on referrals from social networking sites. It then takes only five minutes to complete an application online or they can do it by calling or texting RELIEF to (833) 440-0420.
Next week Alaska Housing plans to randomize all applicant names who will then be contacted for verification of loss of income and contact information for their mortgage servicer or landlord. Payment will be made directly to the mortgage servicer or landlord on behalf of the recipient in late July and August. The combination of funding available and program criteria will allow AHFC to serve between 8,000-12,000 households.
Alaskans are eligible for the program if they lost income due to COVID-19 and are at less than 80% of Area Median Income following their layoff or reduction in hours, and they are eligible to receive up to one month of rent or mortgage relief not to exceed $1,200 per household. Mortgage relief includes principal and interest only; rent relief excludes utilities. A total of $10 million was made available by Governor Dunleavy and the legislature for housing relief as a prevention measure to homelessness.
Director, governmental relations and public affairs
AHFC’s HOUSING RELIEF PROGRAM, Updated June 23, 2020, 11:30 a.m.
Program Background: Alaska Housing Finance Corporation received $10 million in federal CARES funds through the RPL process to help prevent homelessness across the State of Alaska. Governor Mike Dunleavy signed House Bill 313 Ratifying RPLS/COVID-19 funding on May 22, 2020.
AHFC developed a program that offers both mortgage and rent relief, and is intended to serve the greatest number of Alaskans as quickly as possible while also adhering to U.S. Treasury guidance and responsibly distributing funds to those in need.
Program Summary: Alaskans experiencing loss of income due to COVID-19 can apply at AlaskaHousingRelief.org for up to one month of mortgage or rent relief not to exceed $1,200. This is not a first-come, first-serve program. The application window closes June 26, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
About the Selection Process: AHFC chose fund distribution by random selection after the June 26 closure date in recognition of the urgency that some families are experiencing due to financial hardship. This process is used in AHFC’s management of public housing, and allows for verification of applicants’ program eligibility immediately after the randomization is conducted. It allows for payment processing to begin as soon as mid-July. Connectivity issues and non-traditional professions require sensitivity beyond a Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. workday. Connectivity may be further hampered due to libraries and other public facilities closed because of precautions related to COVID-19 spread. This method allows for acceptance of the greatest number of applications and data will inform future local or state government contributions.
Timeline: AHFC began accepting applications at 7 a.m. on Monday, June 15, 2020.
Eligibility: Homeowners or Renters in Alaska who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and whose household income is now less than 80% of Area Median Income. Only one application is permitted per household. Families receiving public housing assistance from AHFC are not eligible but may receive rent relief under another program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. See this link.
Application Acceptance Process: Following submission of their initial application, Alaskans will receive a confirmation notice by the email or text address they provided. AHFC will randomize names after closure of the application period and participant verification will be conducted the following week. Participants will be notified as funding is available.
More Information and To Apply: AlaskaHousingRelief.org or call or text RELIEF to (833) 440-0420.
About AHFC: Alaska Housing Finance Corporation is a public corporation providing Alaskans access to safe, quality and affordable housing through residential financing, energy efficiency, public housing and more. Since 1986, Alaska Housing has contributed more than $2.1 billion to the State of Alaska.
Editor's Note: Updated on August 3, 2020 to reflect conclusion of the program.