Late last summer, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) announced that it was accepting Notice of Intent applications for developers interesting in pursuing special needs/affordable housing. Notice of Intent applications are typically required for projects wishing to receive funding from Alaska’s Special Needs Housing Grant Program, which has become an important funding mechanism for affordable homes.
The Special Needs Housing Grant (SNHG) Program was created to provide incentive for the development of affordable housing for people with special needs – especially those who receive assistance through the Alaska Mental Health Trust. Grant funds can be used for property acquisition and rehabilitation or new construction of rental properties. In addition, HOME Investment Partnership funds are often made available specifically for rental property that meets both special needs and affordable housing requirements.
Projects that receive SNHG funding are expected to submit to a post-project audit in which financial expenditures are reviewed to ensure that grant money was used for special needs housing. The SNHG Program application is a two-step process. First a Notice of Intent to Apply for SNHG Program Resources Form must be filled out and submitted via email. Next, an application must be submitted through the AHFCs online system. Typically, both applications are due on the same day.
Last fall, the AHFC announced its Notice of Funding Availability for the 2011 fiscal year. Both zero-interest loans and grants were made available. There is no indication yet whether a second round of funding will take place this year. Additional information is available on the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation web site.
The SNHG Program is just one of the ways that cash-strapped states are continuing to fund affordable housing projects.