Are you thinking of buying your first home in Alaska? Would you like a free gift of money to help you purchase that first home? If you answered yes to these two questions, there is great news for you. The state of Alaska provides free money for its residents who are first time home buyers and need help with the down payment and closing costs. This money comes in the form of state grants. This is free money that shouldn’t be passed up! The grant awards can be in the thousands of dollars. It will be well worth your time to educate yourself about the grant programs that the State of Alaska provides.
Alaska First Time Home Buyer Grants
The agency in Alaska that provides assistance to first time home buyers is The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. There are a variety of grants available to Alaska residents, depending upon the program and your income. Some of these programs are: Accessibility Modification Grants, Special Needs Housing Grant Program, Grant Match Program, Greater Opportunities for Affordable Living, Homeownership Opportunity Program, and many more. To find out which grant programs you may qualify for, please visit the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation website page specifically describing all the grant programs. You can reach it by visiting this page.
Here is a listing of the many programs, including grants:
Beneficiary and Special Needs Housing Grant Program (SNHG)
The SNHG provides AHFC corporate dollars through competitive grants to non-profit service providers and housing developers for construction of housing for the Alaskan special needs populations, primarily the beneficiaries of the Alaska Mental Health Trust. Funds from this program can be used for planning and construction activities and may provide for congregate, supportive and transitional housing types.
Emergency Solutions Grant Program (ESG)
This federal program provides grants to units of local government and non-profit organizations to operate emergency housing facilities and provide assistance and services to prevent homelessness and/or rapidly re-house persons sleeping in shelters or places not meant for human habitation. As a formula program, these funds are restricted to agencies operating outside of the Municipality of Anchorage.
Many of the forms, instructions, attachments, exhibits, checklists, and regulations required by AHFC Grant Agreements are now available online. These documents are listed on the Grant Downloads Page by grant program. Questions about usage should be directed to the Program Manager or Grants Administrator for individual grants.
Greater Opportunities for Affordable Living (GOAL)
The GOAL program provides grants, federal tax credits and zero-interest federal loans to developers and project sponsors who build affordable rental housing for low-to-moderate income families and seniors. The program is open to for-profit corporations, non-profit agencies and regional housing authorities. The following three programs fit under the GOAL umbrella:
HOME Investment Partnership Act
Under HOME, funding is available to develop new affordable rental housing through new construction, rehabilitation, or acquisition and rehabilitation. HOME funds are typically grant funds but may also be loaned to project sponsors.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program
This program provides federal tax incentives to for-profit or non-profit organizations to develop affordable rental housing for low and very low income households. Awards are made under a competitive process. Eligible activities include new construction, acquisition and rehabilitation projects.
Senior Citizens Housing Development Fund (SCHDF)
Funding can be used to provide housing for Alaska’s senior citizens so that they may remain in their home communities as they age. SCHDF distributed under the GOAL program can be used for acquisition, rehabilitation, and new construction of senior housing. Grants are made to non-profit organizations to bridge the gap between the cost of the project and funding from other sources.
Grant recipients must choose a definition of “senior citizens” as either age 55 and older or age 62 and older according to the federal definition of “housing for older persons” under Section 807 of 42 U.S.C. 3607 implemented at 24 CFR 100.300-308. Both choices carry with them requirements detailed in the application process.
Homeless Assistance Program (HAP)
This highly competitive grant program supports programs operated by non-profit organizations, units of local government, regional housing authorities and tribal organizations that assist the community at-large to prevent homelessness and assist those who have been displaced. HAP funds are also authorized by the Legislature to be used to evaluate and/or plan and coordinate homeless services.
Homeownership Development Program (HDP)
The purpose of the Homeownership Development Program (HDP) is to provide decent housing with improved affordability. HDP funding may be used for real property acquisition and site improvements for new construction of permanent, single family housing. Eligible applicants include only participants in the USDA’s 523 self-help homeownership program, Community Land Trusts and Habitat for Humanity organizations; HDP funds can only be used for eligible projects outside of the Municipality of Anchorage.
HOME Opportunity Program (HOP)
The HOP program provides down payment and closing cost assistance to low-income individuals and families who are trying to purchase a home. The funds are made available through non-profit intermediaries who administer programs in the major urban areas of Alaska. Please contact the non-profit that serves your community to see if you qualify for the program.
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
Grants to non-profit AIDS assistance organizations make possible supportive services and housing assistance so that people with AIDS can find and maintain safe, affordable and decent housing. This program is primarily funded by HUD and awards are issued through a competitive process.
Neighborhood Stabilization Program 1 & 3 (NSP1 & NSP3)
The State of Alaska was awarded a statewide allocation of $24.6 million for neighborhood stabilization activities in Alaska. The NSP1 program provided funding to non-profit organizations to eliminate blight and the presence of vacant, abandoned or foreclosed homes and properties. Vacant and/or foreclosed properties were purchased for redevelopment or resale in order to provide rental and homeownership opportunities for low, median and moderate income families in Alaska. State were required to give priority emphasis to areas of greatest need, targeting areas with the greatest percentage of foreclosures. The NSP3 program provided funding for redevelopment in the Mountain View/Russian Jack final target area in Anchorage and will be used in a mixed financing approach by the Public Housing Division with the potential to develop up to 80 units of affordable housing for families.
Operating Expense Assistance Program (OEA)
The OEA program provides direct operating expense funding to non-profit organizations that have qualified as a “Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO)”; as defined under the HOME Investment Partnership Program.
Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program (ORP)
The ORP program provides weatherization and rehabilitation to homes owned by low-income families. The funds are made available through non-profit intermediaries who administer programs in the major urban areas of Alaska. Please contact the non-profit that serves your community to see if you qualify for the program.
Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency Program (ROSS)
This HUD and AHFC funded program is designed to provide on-site case management services for individuals who are elderly or individuals who experience permanent disabilities, and who are residents of AHFC-owned housing units. The goal of this program is to enable elderly and/or disabled residents to remain independent (age in place) in their homes as long as possible. Within this program, chore services can be provided.
AHFC encourages families to advance their career goals through its scholarship program. AHFC will award as many scholarships as funding permits. Eligible activities can include short-term training on a specific topic, or be part of a longer-term educational endeavor. Applicants must reside in a subsidized rental unit owned by AHFC, or receive assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher program. High school seniors may apply if they plan to attend post-secondary training; adults may apply if they wish to attend a vocational, trade or academic school.
Senior Access Program
In partnership with local non-profits, AHFC provides funds to allow senior citizens, (those over 55 years of age) to make accessibility modifications to their homes, thereby extending their ability to live independently in the community.
Supplemental Housing Development Grant Program
The Supplemental Housing Development Grant Program provides funding to Regional Housing Authorities to supplement housing projects approved for development under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Development Programs. The funds in AHFC’s program are limited to 20% of HUD’s Total Development Cost per project and can only be used for the cost of on-site sewer and water facilities, road construction to project sites, electrical distribution facilities, and energy-efficient design features in the homes.
Tax Credit Assistance Program
This program provides federal grants and/or loans to for-profit or non-profit organizations to develop affordable rental housing for projects that have received an award of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits between October 1, 2006, and September 30, 2009. Awards are made under a competitive process.
This program falls under the Greater Opportunities for Affordable Living program. For more information see the GOAL page.
Teacher, Health Professional and Public Safety Housing Program (AHFC/Denali Commission)
The Teacher, Health Professional, and Public Safety Housing Grant Program funds the development of teacher, health professional, and public safety housing. Funds are awarded competitively on annual basis for the rehabilitation, construction, or acquisition of rural housing projects. Eligible entities include school districts, local governments, regional health corporations, housing authorities, and non-profits.
Besides the state programs, there are federal funds and grants available to first time home buyers in Alaska through the Homes and Communities program of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. On their website you’ll find complete grant information, application forms, description of available funds, as well as many other helpful tools.
Every potential buyer should investigate what they have to offer. You can visit the website by going here: US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. Also, there is a website that has a complete list of all grant programs available through the United States Federal Government: Grants.gov. First time home buyers should plan to spend the required time investigating to determine how many individual grants they may qualify for. You can visit the website by going to the search page at Grants.gov and doing a search here.
In addition to the grant programs described above, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides home buyer assistance and grants in every state. There are multiple grant programs designed specifically for people that meet certain requirements, such as grants for people with disabilities so they can continue to live independently at home. It is worth visiting HUD’s website to see what assistance is currently available. For your convenience, simply go to this page.
Here is the contact information for the HUD office in Alaska:
Anchorage Field Office
3000 C Street
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone: (907) 677-9800
Fax: (907) 677-9803
There are also these local programs:
Alaska Interior Regional Housing Authority Tribal Equity Advantage Program (TEAM) (907) 452-8315
Fairbanks Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. Homebuyer Purchase Loan Program (HPLP) (907) 451-7230