Alaska charity races to disperse rent relief before deadline

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Anchorage branch of a national non-profit is racing to disperse the last of a $20 million grant meant for rent or mortgage assistance by Dec. 30 to avoid sending funds back to the federal government.

United Way of Anchorage said Thursday that it has about $7 million left to dispense from the rent relief program, which began in June.

Qualifying residents were initially granted at most $1,000 from the program, but they are now eligible to apply for three $1,000 checks.

United Way has been actively calling people who previously applied for only one check to determine if they are still eligible for additional funds.

The charity said it has been giving away several hundreds of thousands of dollars every day and has so far provided money to more than 6,000 people and families.

“Any way we can find ways to get the most money out possible, that’s what we are doing,” United Way spokesman Jason Grenn said.

Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson had said in November that the program's funds would be depleted by the end of December, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The Anchorage Assembly passed earlier this month a resolution that reallocated federal coronavirus relief funds into a $15.4 million stimulus package, $7.4 million of which will go toward rent and mortgage relief. Those funds will not be subject to the Dec. 30 deadline and will be dispersed into 2021.

The Associated Press