All Alaska Housing Rent Relief Applicants Contacted
$85 million paid to landlords and utilities; more relief to come
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has contacted all 30,000 applicants in Alaska Housing Rent Relief, reviewed all requests for past-due rent and paid $85.2 million.
As part of the federal COVID relief package passed at year-end 2020, approximately $242 million was made available through Alaska Housing Rent Relief. Alaska renters are among the first to be approved for this assistance, with eligible applicants receiving commitment for up to 12 months of rent and/or utility relief. Nearly $79 million has been paid in past-due and future payments (not to exceed three months at a time), Alaska is leading the country with payment going directly to landlords and utility companies.
“At the end of last year, this program didn’t exist anywhere in the country,” says Bryan Butcher, AHFC CEO/Executive Director. “We’ve worked hard to understand the guidance coming from the federal government, develop a program that would benefit both tenants and landlords, and hire contractors and temporary staff that would allow us to administer rent assistance that balances speedy payments with responsibility for legitimate applications.”
Current Program Statistics (as of August 2, 2021)
- 30,298 initial applications submitted (one third of Alaska renters);
- 25,694 applications passed identity check and income verification;
- 17,955 applications approved for payment to landlords and utilities;
- 44,147 individuals living in rental housing already served;
- Total of $85.2 million paid to landlords and utility companies.
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In addition, five nonprofit partners and 134 Alaskans have been hired to process applications. Fifteen tribal entities and the Municipality of Anchorage are program partners.
“We still have more work to do,” said Butcher. “Of the applications in process, AHFC is following up with families to insure we get the documentation we need that demonstrates proof of financial hardship to receive this federal funding.”
Because funds can’t be paid more than three months in advance, AHFC is contacting those eligible to certify their continued hardship. $6.3 million has been paid in second installments and is reflected in the total.
In response to the end of the eviction moratorium, AHFC has provided each applicant with a link to a letter they can download that confirms their participation in Alaska Housing Rent Relief, including number of months of assistance that remain available to them.
AHFC’s effort to quickly stand up a system of distribution for rent and utility relief is one of the few national success stories. Alaska was one of the first states to accept applications, and AHFC began processing all eligible applications by mid-February. AHFC has launched an online Weekly Program Update, making Alaska one of a few states to provide up-to-date information on program progress, including the number of applications received and total funds distributed.
For those families that did not apply for Alaska Housing Rent Relief, AlaskaHousingRelief.org offers an opportunity to sign up for email notification of future relief that may be available to renters or homeowners.