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Anchorage rental assistance program is exhausted while need ‘remains significant,’ acting mayor says

Carolee Newman fills out a rental assistance application at Lutheran Social Services on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020 in Anchorage. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

Anchorage’s COVID-19 Rent and Mortgage Assistance Program will be exhausted by the end of December, but there is still critical need for housing assistance in the city, the mayor’s office said Friday.

In a written statement, Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson called on Congress to provide more relief funding.

“This program has been a lifesaver to struggling Anchorage families,” Quinn-Davidson said. “The need for housing assistance remains significant and addressing this need requires more resources than we have available.”

The Anchorage Assembly had allocated $20 million of the city’s COVID-19 relief money from federal CARES Act funding to the program, which gave financial assistance to residents to pay rent or mortgages beginning in April, according to the mayor’s office.

About $9 million has been been distributed so far, in more than 9,000 payments to 4,000 households in need, the mayor’s office said.

The program is no longer accepting applications because the rest of the funds are likely to be used up assisting the applicants currently in the queue, according to the statement.

Anchorage residents who lost income or employment due to COVID-19 were eligible for the program. Payments were made directly to landlords and mortgage companies.