Kenai, Soldotna offer COVID housing relief

Sep 15, 2020


Residents Kenai and Soldotna with income affected by COVID-19 can get help with their rent or mortgage payments through the end of the year.

The cities are partnering with the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to localize an assistance program AHFC started this summer.

City residents can apply for up to $1,200 each month, to be paid directly to the mortgage holder or landlord. The relief amount will be the lesser of the household’s drop in income or whatever their housing payment is each month. It’s for households that earn less than 80 percent of the median area income. For the Kenai Peninsula Borough, that’s $71,760. Households must be able to show income has been negatively affected by COVID.

“Their income has to have been impacted by COVID 19,” said Laura Rhyner, assistant to the Soldotna city manager. “So, either they’ve lost employment or they had a reduction in hours. Or maybe they had to leave work to stay home and care for kids that aren’t able to attend school — something like that.”

Rhyner says AHFC is making it easy for municipalities to offer this program since they’ve already got the infrastructure up and running.

“AHFC already had this great framework in place, they had a website, they had a process for contacting applicants and verifying eligibility,” Rhyner said. “They reached out to municipalities and offered to continue using that infrastructure to administer the cares funds from the cities.”

Anyone qualifying for the program for September is eligible to continue receiving help through December, as long as their financial criteria doesn’t change. For more information, check out Soldotnahousingrelief.org or Kenaihousingrelief.org.