Photo illustration

Photo illustration

Funds for mortgage, rent relief available

These funds were allocated by the governor and approved by the Legislature as part of the CARES Act.

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation is set to distribute $10 million in rent and mortgage assistance to families who have lost income because of the COVID-19 pandemic and are now facing eviction or foreclosure, according to a June 8 press release from AHFC.

These funds, which were allocated by Gov. Mike Dunleavy and approved by the state legislature as part of the CARES Act funding received by the state, will provide up to $1,200 in rent or mortgage relief per eligible family.

“Our data shows that it’s better to keep Alaskans stably housed through prevention efforts both in terms of their mental and physical health but also as a cost-effective measure,” Bryan Butcher, CEO and executive director of AHFC, said in the release.

Starting Monday, June 15, families in Alaska can apply for the assistance if they have lost income during the pandemic and are currently earning less than 80% of the median income for their area.

Alaska residents can go to alaskahousingrelief.org/check-eligibility to determine the maximum allowable income for their borough or census area and to sign up to be notified when the application window opens. The Kenai Peninsula Borough, for example, has a maximum allowable income of $71,760, according to the eligibility calculator.

Stacy Barnes, public affairs director for AHFC, said that an area’s median income is calculated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which uses data from other federal agencies like the IRS.

The application window will run from June 15 to June 26. Distribution of funds will be determined using a statewide lottery system, but the program is not first-come, first-served. Those who end up at the top of the lottery will be required to provide more information verifying their identity and loss of income due to COVID-19, proof of monthly rent or mortgage payments and contact information for their landlord or mortgage servicer.

“AHFC’s lottery system is based on best practices in their public housing management and ensures that regardless of where Alaskans live, they’ll have equal access to this housing relief,” Dunleavy said in the press release. “For those unable to access the online application, calling or texting ‘RELIEF’ to 833-440-0420 offers an alternative.”

Payments will be made directly to the landlord or mortgage servicer and are expected to be distributed in July, according to the release.

Alaska residents who receive public housing assistance through AHFC are not eligible for this program, but they can apply for rent relief under a separate program funded by HUD.

Homeowners who have a mortgage through AHFC can also take advantage of a 60-day mortgage forbearance if they have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19. Barnes said that homeowners who have AHFC as an investor in their loan are eligible for the new mortgage relief program even if they are in forbearance, as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria for the program. AHFC mortgage holders will not be given preference in the lottery.

For more information on the financial assistance available through AHFC, visit alaskahousingrelief.org.

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation is a self-funded public corporation with offices in 16 communities across Alaska. Visit www.ahfc.us to learn more.

Reach reporter Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com

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