Almost a third of renter households in Alaska have applied for financial assistance through Alaska Housing Finance Corp. as part of a federally funded program launched earlier this year to help those in difficulty during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, the state agency is opening a second round of aid that should help other families struggling to pay their rent and utility bills.
The help comes after the US Supreme Court last month ended a federal moratorium on evictions.
In the first wave of relief, more than 20,000 Alaskan households received assistance. To date, they have received an average of more than $ 6,500, said Stacy Barnes, spokesperson for the housing agency. The agency has paid $ 135 million for this round so far.
About 30,000 households asked for help in the first round, Barnes said. Some people were not eligible, others did not fill out the paperwork correctly and some people withdrew after applying, Barnes said.
Registration for the new cycle started a few weeks ago. It ends this Friday at 11:59 p.m.
“We want to make sure that every eligible Alaskan has the opportunity to apply,” Barnes said.
Barnes also said the agency was awaiting federal government approval to implement a program to provide households with mortgage relief linked to the pandemic.
Here are some answers to basic questions about the rental relief program:
Who is eligible?
People who did not benefit from it in the first round can apply, as well as those who have already exhausted their aid in the first round.
Eligible households have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic and have household income equal to or less than 80% of the region’s median income.
In Anchorage, the maximum income to qualify is $ 77,840 per year, or $ 6,487 per month. In the Matanuska-Susitna district, it is respectively $ 73,120 and $ 6,093. In Fairbanks, it’s $ 74,480 and $ 6,206.
To register, visit alaskahousingrelief.org. Applicants can quickly see if they meet the income and other eligibility criteria on the website.
The agency confirms rental and utility payment information. He sends checks directly owners and utilities.
How much could I be eligible for?
Up to three months rent and utilities, fully paid, excluding broadband payments.
That’s less than the first round, which was designed to provide payments for up to 12 months, as needed. The application period for the first round ended in March.
As before, the aid can be applied retroactively.
How many people will benefit this time?
It is unknown.
Alaska Housing Finance Corp. has so far received approximately 7,000 requests for this cycle.
It’s unclear how many of them will qualify and how many more will arrive before the deadline on Friday night.
The housing agency has around $ 150 million in funding for this round. But this money is also used to provide payments that continue as part of the first round.