The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended the federal moratorium on evictions by two months, which expired in late July. With some limitations, this means that tenants who are unable to pay their rent cannot be evicted until October 3.
The new moratorium only applies to areas with “substantial” or “high” levels of COVID-19 transmission. It’s almost all of Alaska right now.
Daniel Coons, director of the fair housing project at Alaska Legal Services, said that while the extension is good news, it’s important to recognize that the moratorium will always end at some point.
“(The extension) is going to be a real relief for tenants, but people should definitely continue to take advantage of any rental assistance opportunities that exist, as landlords will end up having to get paid,” Coons said.
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The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation is the primary organization responsible for distributing state and tribal rental aid money, as well as money allocated to the Municipality of Anchorage.
AHFC’s latest round of requests for rental assistance closed in March, but CEO Bryan Butcher said he expects another round of requests to open during the month. next. The AHFC still has a waiting list to work on.
Butcher said Alaska has been faster in distributing rent assistance than almost any other state. But he encourages everyone to be patient while the funds are sent.
“We have communicated to the owners, the court system and everyone we can that even though they are in a circumstance where funds have not yet been sent, if they have been approved, those funds are imminent,” he said.
Alaskans eligible for financial assistance may be granted up to 12 months rent, with assistance paid directly to their landlords. Eligibility is income-based – renters with incomes no greater than 80% of the region’s median income may be eligible.
Since the start of the pandemic, Butcher said, AHFC has distributed $ 88 million to more than 18,000 households in Alaska.