Saturday, May 25, 2013
No More Housing Voucher Applications
AK Housing Finance Corp. closes list for the first time as more people need help with housing.
By Lauren Maxwell
ANCHORAGE—Finding affordable housing in Anchorage is getting harder, especially if you don't make a living wage. Social service agencies say they are getting more calls for help with things like rental assistance or finding apartments that will take low-income tenants.
Agencies say they would like to offer more support but don't have the funding. On top of that, there simply isn't the supply of housing to keep up with the need.
At the Lutheran Social Services office, director Alan Budahl says he is getting at least a half dozen calls a week from people looking for help with housing. It's help he can't provide but Budahl says what he can do is direct them to the food pantry.
"I tell them to save their money for rent, because many of these people are working,” Budahl said. “I will make sure that there is food on the table for their families if they can give what money they have to the landlord.”
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation is another agency that has historically helped provide low-income housing. But just last month the agency closed its list of those waiting for a housing voucher.
"And the reason that we did that is because the waiting list became so large," said Jim Gurke. "We didn't want to give people false hope."
Gurke says there are more than 4,000 people currently on that list. He says it could easily take years before all are served. On the plus side, the agency is working on acquiring more housing. One of the biggest projects, Loussac Place in midtown Anchorage, should start accepting tenants next summer.