Alaskan city gets $42 million relief grant program for businesses in the tourism industry

 Tuesday, February 23, 2021 

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Anchorage is rolling out more relief money for people and businesses hit hard by the pandemic. Last week, the Anchorage Assembly authorized Acting Mayor Austin-Quinn Davidson to accept more than $35 million in federal money for emergency rental assistance and utility relief.

The city also announced a $7 million relief grant program for businesses in the tourism industry.

The $35-plus million in rental relief comes from the federal coronavirus aid bill passed in December. It is arriving just as funds for the municipality’s current rental and mortgage assistance program are running dry, according to the city.

Over the summer, the city allocated $20 million in aid from its CARES Act funds, launching its rental and mortgage assistance program. That program was exhausted by the end of December, and the Assembly in December allocated another $6.4 million to bridge the gap until the new round of federal money came through.

The requirements for the new funds will be slightly different — the federal relief funds now include money to help pay utility bills, but do not include money for mortgage assistance.

The city has temporarily paused applications for its rental assistance program in order to prepare for the new funding, which comes with more eligibility and reporting requirements, according to its announcement.

Chris Schutte, Anchorage’s economic and community development director, said at a press conference last week that the money will be disbursed to individuals throughout the community over the coming year.

The municipality’s previous rent and mortgage program served more than 7,000 families, distributing a total of $26.4 million, the city said. It has been run in partnership between the city, United Way of Anchorage and Lutheran Social Services of Anchorage.

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