$15.4 Million Economic Relief Package Announced for Anchorage
Acting Mayor Quinn-Davidson and members of the Anchorage Assembly have announced a measure to provide additional relief funding to businesses and residents in the municipality of Anchorage, including housing assistance and grants to businesses impacted by the modified Hunker Down Order.
The measure, Assembly Resolution (AR) No. 2020-426, will be introduced tomorrow at a special meeting of the Anchorage Assembly, where a public hearing and final vote will be set for next week.
The $15,407,650 relief package would provide additional funding to several oversubscribed municipal economic relief programs, as follows:
- $7,400,000 for the Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program. This will allow the program to continue beyond December and into 2021.
- $6,407,650 for grants to small businesses impacted by the modified Hunker Down order, including restaurants, bars, and entertainment businesses. This $6,407,650 is in addition to the approximately $7,000,000 remaining in the small business program fund, which will be deployed in the coming days. After passage of this AR, funds left to deploy to small businesses would total $13,407,650.
- $1,000,000 for the municipal Voucher Program that provides individuals and families with vouchers for basic necessities such as groceries, medication, diapers, and gas. This will add to the existing $1,000,000 program, which is expected to be depleted this month.
- $600,000 for the United Way and Alaska Hospitality and Retailers Association Meals Program, which pays local restaurants to provide meals to families that are struggling to make ends meet. This funding will allow the existing program to continue beyond 2021.
“We’ve spent the last week combing through each of the Muni programs to see what funds we could repurpose to get help to those who need it the most—and quickly,” says Acting Mayor Quinn-Davidson. “These funds are a good start, but not enough to carry our community through these next few months. We’re hopeful that Congress will act quickly to provide Alaskans the resources we need to weather this public health crisis.”
The funding for the additional economic relief redirects dollars previously appropriated by the Anchorage Assembly. The Anchorage Assembly previously set aside $12,000,000 to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) local match requirement for disaster funds in case the State of Alaska did not pay the match. The State of Alaska has committed to pay this match, so these funds are no longer needed for that purpose. The bulk of the remaining funds come from funds that were appropriated for mental health crisis response, which will now be funded by the alcohol tax.
“When the Assembly appropriated the CARES Act funds in August, we did it with the intention of helping do the most good for the most people possible,” says Assembly Chair Rivera. “The package we’ll be introducing on Friday mirrors that same intent, but we can only do so much without additional help from Congress.”
The Anchorage Assembly previously allocated more than $88,000,000 for economic stimulus, the majority which has been spent on rent and mortgage relief and grants to businesses and nonprofits. The remaining relief dollars from that allocation will become available in the coming weeks, including $7 million more for small businesses, $7 million to tourism related businesses, $3 million for utility relief, and continued payments to child care providers.
For up to date information on new relief opportunities and public health measures, businesses can sign up for text alerts at http://muni.org/smbizalerts.
The final allocation and approval of the funds remains subject to Assembly approval of AR No. 2020-426, which is sponsored by Assembly Acting Chair Rivera, Acting Vice Chair Weddleton, Assembly members Allard, Constant, Dunbar, Kennedy, LaFrance, Petersen, Perez-Verdia, Zaletel, and Acting Mayor Quinn-Davidson.
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