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40 new housing units aim to ease city's crunch

Posted: May 29, 2013 - 5:11pm  |  Updated: May 30, 2013 - 12:14am

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation awarded $7.6 million in federal grant funds and low-income housing tax credits to organizations spearheading a project to bring more housing units to Juneau.

Volunteers of America National Services, Volunteers of America, Alaska and development partners Trapline LLC and V2 joint-ventured a bid to the AHFC to construct and manage additions to Vista Drive on Douglas.

The proposed 40-unit project would exceed $10 million with a Rasmuson Foundation grant and AHFC mortgage to help cover the cost.

“Following the fire at the Gastineau Apartments downtown, AHFC was in a position to offer financial assistance for new housing construction,” Dan Fauske, AHFC executive director and CEO said in a statement. “I’m very pleased with how fast the process has moved, taking fewer than six months to go from accepting applications to awarding the project.”

Fauske hopes the project will be underway by this summer, though the contractor and builder still must go through the city in order to obtain the permits required to begin construction.

“Working with AHFC, the state was able to respond quickly to the Gastineau fire, making resources available to build more affordable housing for families at a variety of income levels and provide good construction jobs,” Gov. Sean Parnell said in a statement. “This effort is an example of how partnerships between the state, the nonprofit, and private sectors can accomplish great things.”

Fifteen units would be open to all income levels, but based ultimately on the tenant selection process decided by the property’s owners. Twenty-five units would target tenants who earn between $21,163 and $48,920 or families with disabilities.

Rents will range between $530 for income-restricted single bedroom to $1,700 for non-restricted three bedrooms.

“I think any new rentals in Juneau will help our housing crisis, especially with the loss of the Gastineau apartments,” Housing First Inc. Executive Director Jennifer LaRoe said. “Local developers should really step up to the plate and make more progress in this area not just for affordable housing, but all income levels.”

Community Development was reached for comment, but they were unavailable at press time.

Contact reporter Kenneth Rosen at 523-2250 or at kenneth.rosen@juneauempire.com.

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