Wrangell houses rise above town.
(Sage Smiley / KSTK)

There’s financial assistance available to Alaska homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But the April 4 deadline to apply is coming up soon. 

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) plans to distribute $50 million to Alaska homeowners to help with mortgage payments, repaying past due property taxes, utility payments, or other household expenses. The funds come from the American Rescue Plan Act passed last year by Congress. AHFC spokesperson Stacy Barnes says the assistance is limited to homeowners who live in the state. 

“So you can’t be the kind of person who didn’t spend your summers or spend significant time outside of Alaska, but just returned to Alaska for a short bit,” Barnes explains, “You have to be owner and occupier of that property, you also have to qualify based on your income.”

That income qualification is being at or below 150% of the Area Median Income, with priority given to households at or below 100% of the AMI. That can vary widely depending on location. 

In Wrangell, for example, the income threshold for a household of four people is $82,200. A family of four with a combined income of more than $123,300 would not be eligible. 

The assistance is not limited to homeowners still making payments. But Barnes says property owners must demonstrate some financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We think about seniors as an example, who may have had small side jobs or second jobs, and they lost additional income that they would have otherwise been making because of reductions from the pandemic,” Barnes says, “Or perhaps a working family had children who were in school, and when their child’s got COVID, they were home for two weeks, or perhaps they were just exposed to COVID, and they didn’t have a vacation bank where they could take the funding that was necessary to be able to help them pay their bills, they struggled as a result of that, this program may be able to help.”

AHFC says the program has already received more than 8,000 applicants; more than a thousand are in Southeast Alaska. 

The program is similar to one run last year by AHFC, which distributed more than $250 million in rental and utility assistance to tens of thousands of Alaska tenants. 

Homeowner applications are due by the end of the day Monday, April 4. Homeowners can check their eligibility or find more information at AlaskaHousingRelief.org

Get in touch with KSTK at news@kstk.org or (907) 874-2345.