Alaska Housing Finance Corporation Celebrates 40th Anniversary
The state's official housing authority, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC), is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, marking a four-decade evolution built on a mission that includes providing access to safe, quality, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income Alaskans in neighborhoods statewide.
Anticipating the need for additional housing resulting from the pipeline boom of the '70s, in 1971 the Alaska Legislature created AHFC with more than $1 billion. As a public corporation, separate from the state, it was granted authority to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance the purchase of single-family home mortgage loans from private Alaska financial institutions. Today it is rated nationally as one of the country's best public housing programs, serving 6,000 Alaska families.
Since its inception, AHFC has returned almost $2 billion to the state's general fund that is used to help finance State capital projects. AHFC is also lauded for helping stabilize the housing market during the state's economic recession of the 1980s by holding foreclosed properties in its inventory rather than flooding the market.
"If you consider that housing-related expenditures make up almost 25 percent of our gross domestic product, we've got a huge stake in not only the housing market but the overall health of the Alaska economy," Dan Fauske, AHFC CEO and executive director, said of the organization that today has 16 offices statewide.
AHFC dates back to post World War II when there was a 74 percent population increase in what was then the Territory of Alaska. The federal government allocated money to states for urban renewal projects to provide housing for returning soldiers and their families. The Territory's response was the Alaska Housing Authority, which had powers to issue bonds and administer Alaska's share of federal funding.
During the '70s and '80s, Alaska had three separate housing entities to address specific housing-related needs of the state's population: AHFC, Alaska State Housing Authority, and Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs. In 1992, the Legislature consolidated them into what today is known simply as AHFC. In addition to financing houses and its rental property programs, it also implements energy conservation programs and rural development research and has administered more than $100 million to the benefit of Alaskans participating in these programs.
AHFC is a self-supporting public corporation with offices in 16 communities statewide. It provides statewide financing for multi-family complexes and single-family homes, with special loan options for low- to moderate-income borrowers, veterans, teachers, health care professionals, and those living in rural areas of the state.
AHFC also provides energy and weatherization programs, low-income rental assistance in 17 communities, and special programs for the homeless and those seeking to become self-sufficient. AHFC has contributed more than $1.9 billion to Alaska's state budget revenues through cash transfers, capital projects and debt-service payments.