ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Payments of up to $1,200 will soon become available to Alaska residents struggling to make rent and mortgage payments because of income losses related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The one-time payments distributed by lottery are an effort to prevent homelessness in the state, The Anchorage Daily News reported Monday.
The money will come from $10 million in federal coronavirus relief funds administered by the Alaska Housing Finance Corp.
The state agency expects the program to serve between 8,000 and 12,000 households.
Each household is eligible for no more than $1,200 and must complete a simple questionnaire that includes name, address and certification of income loss.
Households must have lost income due to COVID-19 and earn less than 80% of median income for their community to be eligible, the agency said.
In Anchorage that figure would be less than about $78,000 per household.
The application period opens June 15 and closes June 26. The lottery results will be announced one week later.
Payments will be made directly to landlords or mortgage lenders and are targeted for the July 2020 billing cycle.
Alaska Housing Finance Corp. recently received nearly 970 applications for mortgage loan forbearance, meaning a temporary halt for payment obligations, said Stacy Barnes, director of government relations and public affairs.
About 1,100 Anchorage residents and just over 2,000 people statewide are considered homeless under a definition by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The actual number is thought to be many thousands higher and expected to increase because of the coronavirus, service providers said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.