Some assistance is on its way for Juneau residents struggling to pay rent amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Juneau Assembly approved an emergency appropriation Monday night setting aside $200,000 from the city’s affordable housing fund as relief for residents who have been laid off or are unable to work due to COVID-19.
The resolution passed by an 8-1 vote. Assembly member Loren Jones voted against it, saying he feels it does too little and is “a bad piece of legislation.”
“We’re arguing over $200,000 for people and human beings in rent assistance, and we’re putting up barriers,” Jones said.
Several other Assembly members said they were disappointed it had taken so long for the Assembly to pass some form of rental assistance, especially given how quickly it approved $3 million in emergency funding for local small businesses.
“I’m not happy about the message this sends in Juneau, especially (to) individuals who really need assistance at this time,” said Assembly member Carole Triem. “There’s no right answer on any of this, there’s no certainty on any of this, but we do need to do something to help the people who really need it.”
The resolution creates an emergency rental assistance program. Funds will be distributed through the Juneau Community Foundation to the Alaska Housing Development Corp., a nonprofit that runs several low-income housing complexes and an existing rental assistance program.
Applicants will need to demonstrate that they are within a certain income bracket and prove that they are unable to pay rent as a result of COVID-19 impacts.
AHDC Executive Director Tamara Rowcroft said Thursday the details are still being worked out by the city, and it will take about a week before they can start accepting applications from renters.