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Program eyes increased affordable housing

Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2002

The Alaska Housing Finance Corp. is offering federal funds to provide affordable rental housing throughout the state.

The money is available through the Greater Opportunities for Affordable Living (GOAL) program, which provides $5.7 million in federal income tax credits for rental development.

"It's designed to help people build affordable rental housing for families, seniors and special needs groups," explained AHFC planner Mark Romick. "Affordable housing is important for most communities, because there's always a certain segment of the population who has need. Everybody needs a safe, sanitary place to live that they can afford."

The lack of affordable, accessible housing continues to be a problem throughout the state, and especially in the higher-population peninsula area, said Joyanna Geisler, director of the Independent Living Center.

However, she said, in the past month or two, awareness of the problem has increased, leading several contractors to call the center offering to build housing.

"One guy even said he had the money right now," Geisler said.

That individual is in the minority though.

Jim Brady, an American Disabilities Act specialist who currently works with the center providing training sessions for area business owners and contractors, said many builders are willing to provide accessible housing, but need financial help to do so.

"The question that always comes up is, 'How can we defray the costs?'" Brady said.

The GOAL program is one of the resources he suggests.

The tax credits are available to current owners or buyers of property who plan to build or rehabilitate housing for low-income families, senior citizens or people with disabilities.

The credits are not available to individuals building or remodeling their own homes, but do apply to nonprofit or for-profit organizations.

The AHFC will sponsor an application workshop today from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those interested in learning more about the grants. The workshop, located in the AHFC Board Room at 4300 Boniface Parkway in Anchorage, will provide an overview of how to develop affordable housing as well as an explanation of the low-income housing tax credit program and the application process.

More information about the program can also be found online at www.ahfc.state.ak.us. The application period runs through May 3, and awards will be announced in late May.

Brady also hosts informational sessions for peninsula business people interested in improving housing accessibility in the area. For more information, call the Independent Living Center at 262-6333.



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