Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is AHFC changing its rent policy?
A: Simply put, our current public housing and voucher program is not meeting the needs of Alaskans. While federal assistance is decreasing, families are staying much longer than they were a decade ago—an average of eight years. What’s more, for every single unit available, four families are seeking assistance.
Our goal is to make the process much simpler for Alaskans, to provide assistance to more Alaskans who need it, and empower those families in our program to become financially independent.
Q: What’s the first thing that will happen?
A: Families who are already receiving public housing and voucher assistance will be identified as a participant of the Classic Program or the Step Program.
Q: Who will be part of Classic?
A: Household members must be age 62 or older or adult household members must be identified as persons with a disability. Current participants age 57 and older will be grandfathered. These households may include live-in attendants and full-time student dependents younger than age 24.
Q: What changes will participants of the Classic Program see?
A: Classic Program participant’s rent contribution will drop from 30 percent of adjusted to 28.5 percent of gross income. No deductions will be applied to income calculation.
Q: Why were these changes made in the Classic Program?
A: These changes require participants to fill out less paperwork and help provide a more stable, consistent monthly rent responsibility.
Q: Who will participate in the Step Program?
A: Households with members who are “work able”.
Q: What changes will participants of the Step Program see?
A: These families will benefit from five years of housing assistance. The family’s contributions will increase during that five-year period until they’re fully self-sufficient. Increases will be based on the family’s income in the first year, meaning the family has the ability to plan ahead and save if their income increases during that time period.
Q: When will the changes take place?
A: Rent reform changes will take place when households reach their annual recertification month, beginning with those effective in April 2014. AHFC has had a hold on distribution of new Housing Choice Vouchers but upon reopening the program, new admissions will fall under the new program rules.
Q: Will there be a minimum contribution to housing costs?
A: Classic program participants will pay no less than $25 per month toward their housing costs, while Step program participants will pay no less than $100 per month toward their housing costs.
Q: Can Step program participants stay in the same rental unit after their five-year term expires?
A: Families living in public housing are welcome to stay in the unit and pay the full contract rent if they would like to extend their tenancy. Families participating in the housing choice voucher program are subject to negotiation between the tenant and landlord.
Q: What if I want to add a working or work-able adult to my household?
A: Step program participants will see no increase in rent with the addition of an adult to their household who begins working or increases their income. Classic program participants who add a working or work-able adult to their household who’s neither a dependent nor has a disability will cause the household to be moved to the Step program and will be subject to Step program rules.
Q: What qualifies someone as a full-time student?
A: Full-time student under the age of 24 status must be documented by an accredited school.
Q: Will AHFC be offering any assistance to help me obtain and/or maintain a job?
A: AHFC offers several programs to help with financial planning and job searches:
- All Step Program participants are required to participate in a financial literacy course that must be completed within the first 12 months of their five-year term. The course will focus on household budgeting.
- Family Self-Sufficiency, a free program available to all public housing and voucher participants, will offer assistance with goal setting, training, and job searches.
More resources will be posted to this site as they become available.