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Communities receive housing grants

Daily News Staff Writer

In Kasaan, a village of approximately 50 people, there are only two teachers — and both of those teachers reside in an aging mobile home that has extensive storm damage.

But, with the help of a grant, that will soon be changing.

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, in partnership with the Rasmuson Foundation, announced $2 million in grants that are slated to support housing construction in four different rural communities.

Hoonah, Kasaan, Tununak and Huslia all will be receiving Teacher Professional and Public Safety Officer Housing funds.

According to a Thursday press release from Tlingit Haida Regional Housing Authority, Kasaan will receive funding for two new housing units to replace the aging trailer that village’s teachers now share.

“(AHFC) will award $372,500 to join expected leverage of approximately $507,500 in loans, matching funds and other contributions,” the release regarding the Kasaan project reads.

The plan is to replace the damaged trailer where the teachers live with a duplex and provide low-income housing for a tribal member.

According to an AHFC press release, other rural communities across the state will receive the rest of the $2 million in grant money.

• Hoonah: “$550,000 to support seven units (14 bedrooms), along with office space for rotating behavioral services.”

• Tununak: “The Village of Tununak has been recruiting for a Village Public Safety Officer for nearly two years without success. The village will receive $381,000 to build a three-bedroom home.”

• Huslia: “$550,000 to build a duplex for law enforcement and health professionals.”

According to the AHFC press release, “(The grant) funds are competitively awarded and do not fund any project in its entirety. Twelve communities applied for the gap funding this year.”

AHFC CEO and Executive Director Bryan Butcher wrote in the release that the need for housing is essential in these rural communities.

“Access to safe, quality and affordable housing is vital to the well-being of any community,” Butcher wrote. “Along with the Rasmuson Foundation contributions, these funds meaningfully impact housing shortages.”

Since it was established in 2004, the Teacher Professional and Public Safety Officer Housing program has funded over 120 different projects.