Borough now accepting applications for housing relief program

The program will provide up to $1,200 per month, for four months, to eligible households.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file photo)

The Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file photo)

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is now accepting applications for their rent and mortgage relief program, which will provide up to $1,200 per month for borough residents who live outside of city limits and have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19.

The borough unanimously approved up to $2 million for the program, which will be offered in partnership with the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC), at their Oct. 13 meeting. Similar programs are also being offered in the cities of Kenai and Soldotna.

To qualify for the program, applicants must be borough residents who live outside of city limits. The household’s income must be at or below $71,760 at the time of application, or 80% of the median income. The income figure is based on area median income as calculated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development using federal data, according to the program website. Applicants who are unsure of their exact income are still able to complete the application and will be walked through income calculation during the verification process. The permanent fund dividends and state unemployment benefits count towards household income but the one-time federal stimulus payment and federal unemployment benefits do not.

For the application, residents will be asked to complete a questionnaire and to certify they lost income due to COVID-19. Income must have been reduced on or after March 11, 2020. Examples of income loss include closures due to COVID-19 and hour reductions, among other things.

Residents who live in AHFC Public Housing or who have a Housing Choice Voucher through AHFC are not eligible for the program.

Applications can be completed online and require a valid email address, a phone number, the approximate monthly income generated by the household before and after the COVID-19 income reduction and the monthly rent or mortgage payment amount.

During the verification process, applicants will be contacted directly and will be expected to provide a photo ID, a lease agreement or mortgage bill showing their monthly payment and a W-9 or other payee verification from their landlord or lender.

Eligible households will be able to receive up to $1,200 for the months of September, October, November and December of 2020. The amount of money awarded will be determined by comparing the applicant’s monthly rent or mortgage payment and the net monthly reduction in household income due to COVID-19, according to the program website.

Applications will be processed in the order that they are received. Application statuses can be checked at kpbhousingrelief.org/lookup_results.

More information is available on the program website at kpbhousingrelief.org.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com

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