For people looking for an affordable place to live or struggling to pay rent, there's an important list to be on, but the window to act is closing this week. 

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation launched its federally-funded Housing Choice Voucher lottery this month. The program helps low income Alaskans cover the cost of renting a privately-owned unit. The application period for the program runs through Wednesday, July 31.

It's an opportunity that only comes around every year and a half to two years, and AHFC estimates 2,000 Alaskans will apply. Once the entry period closes, applicants will be assigned a number and recipients will be chosen at random as housing becomes available. Every person on the list has an equal chance of being picked, regardless of whether they signed up at the beginning of the month or during the last days July. 

According to a fact sheet from AHFC, a single person in Anchorage making less than $36,750 annually could qualify, while a family of four living in Anchorage with a gross annual income less than $52,450 is eligible. 

"We really aim to get people into more self sufficiency, so we have a five-year program where the subsidies will decrease and your portion of the rent will increase," AHFC public relations manager Soren Johansson explained. "In order to make the transformation happen, we have a whole bunch of support programs like education, job training and things like that going on at our Anchorage Family Investment Center." 

Alaskans who don't qualify for the lottery or miss the deadline and still need help can visit the Housing Lab at Anchorage's Loussac Library. The program is a weekly, three-hour drop in workshop designed to connect Anchorage residents with available services. 

Coordinator Rebecca Barker said attendance is growing since the program started in January, and there has been concern recently over a loss of services due to state budget cuts. 

"One of the things that it did impact was emergency rental assistance sort of dried up, which meant if people were teetering on the edge, they couldn't get that little bit of help to keep them housed, they have to go through the shelter systems, and with those shelter systems losing capacity, you can see where we're gonna have quite a challenge on our hands," said Barker. 

The Housing Lab is held every Monday from 2–5 p.m. at the Loussac Library. 

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