Alaska Leads Nation In Distribution of Rent Relief
Record Number of Alaskans Receive Assistance
As part of the federal COVID relief package passed at year-end 2020, more than $200 million in Emergency Rental Assistance was made available through Alaska Housing Rent Relief.
Every Alaskan that applied and qualified has either been approved for payment or is the final stages of the process to receive rent and utility relief. One third of Alaskan renters applied for this assistance and close to 85% of applicants met the federal income eligibility requirements. To date, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has distributed over $67 Million in payments and helped over 38,000 Alaskans.
"You have made a very hard time a little better and this will definitely help me get out of the hole Covid has created! I appreciate it."
— Lynn, Alaska Housing Rent Relief recipient from Anchorage
Quick Program Rollout Saves Thousands From Possible Eviction
The news of AHFC's successful and continued distribution of relief funds came just ahead of the announcement that the federal eviction moratorium would expire on July 31st. The effort to quickly set up an online application portal, assemble a team of Relief Specialists, and process over 30,000 applications was a challenge. However, the dedication of AHFC staff and partners may have saved thousands of Alaskans from the threat of eviction.
“Less than a year ago — in fact, just six months ago — this program didn’t exist,” said Bryan Butcher, AHFC CEO/Executive Director. “We’ve worked hard to understand the guidance coming from the federal government, develop a program that would benefit both tenants and landlords, and hire contractors and temporary staff that would allow us to administer rent assistance as quickly as possible.”
The success of Alaska Housing Rent Relief depends on the coordination of hardworking Alaskans, including:
- 15 tribal housing authorities and the Municipality of Anchorage that collaborated on program development and pooled funding for streamlined application and processing;
- 5 nonprofit partners that were contracted to process applications and issue payment on behalf of AHFC;
- 134 Alaskans employed specifically for this program.
Among the first administering agencies to accept applications in the nation, AHFC began accepting applications in mid-February of 2021. While some states have not completed their application period, all Alaskan applicants have been contacted. Only about 15% are still working with a Relief Specialist to provide qualifying information. AHFC provides an online Weekly Program Update with current information on progress, including the number of applications received and total funds distributed. Click the image below to learn more.
Relief Payments Made Directly To Landlords & Utilities
Alaskan property owners and businesses also benefit from Alaska Housing Rent Relief. While renters applied and were approved for rent and utility relief, past due and future payments for which they were approved are made directly to their landlords and utility companies. Landlords were able to add their information through an online portal which facilitated quicker payment once their tenants were approved. With 75% of landlords being "Mom & Pop" property owners, this method of direct distribution helped ease the financial burden on families that rely on rental income to pay their own bills. All applications not yet paid are in process, and both applicants and landlords can check their real-time status online.
Resources And Guidance for All Alaskans
Alaskan renters, homeowners, and landlords can access information about avoiding eviction and/or foreclosure, setting up repayment plans or applying for forbearance, and signing up for email notification of any future housing relief. For more information, go to AlaskaHousingRelief.org.