Alaska Housing Finance Corp. will make $7.6 million in federal grant funds and federal low-income housing tax credits available in 2013 to spur construction and operation of new rental facilities in Juneau.
The paucity of housing in Alaska’s capital city has been identified by the Borough Assembly as a top concern, and AHFC’s top official said the corporation’s goal is to help ease the housing crunch by creating more affordable housing.
“There is simply not enough housing in Juneau, and the fire at the Gastineau that destroyed 41 units has magnified the problem,” said Dan Fauske, executive director and chief executive officer of AHFC. “AHFC is working to offer reasonably priced housing options. It is important to Juneau, Southeast Alaska and the whole state that we move quickly.”
Juneau Mayor Merrill Sanford said the infusion of money for housing “definitely will be a big help,” as the Assembly and Juneau Economic Development Council work to develop a clear picture of Juneau’s housing market and what can be done to add more housing stock in the city and borough.
“If we can get 50 to 100 units or more out of that, that’s good,” said Sanford. “Those are the type of things that we want to see happen and our builders and contractors be able to do.”
The Assembly formed an ad hoc committee last month to plan a housing summit, which is tentatively set for Jan. 8, involving industry representatives and members of the Assembly and Planning Commission.
Gov. Sean Parnell also responded to AHFC’s announcement Monday.
“Affordable housing remains a critical need for many Alaskans and we are committed to addressing needs to the extent we’re able,” Parnell said. “AHFC has long been known for its ability to ‘make it happen.’ My office has been working with Dan and his staff to bring solutions to the ongoing challenges and today’s announcement by AHFC reflects that shared priority.”
There will be a competitive bid process and potential development teams can find out more about the program at the AHFC website under the heading “Grant Funding Availability.” The topics will be federal low-income housing tax credits and the HOME Investment Partnership Program.
Qualified development teams are encouraged to submit pre-applications to AHFC through Jan. 28. Invited pre-applicants will be expected to submit their full proposals in early May. The selected development team will begin construction in the summer of 2013 and bring units online in 2014.