Following Sullivan-Led Roundtable, AAHA and HUD Announce Alaska Housing Task Force

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) welcomed the announcement this week of a new task force by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), in partnership with the Association of Alaska Housing Authorities (AAHA), focused on addressing obstacles to affordable housing, especially in rural Alaska. The task force is a result of a roundtable meeting Sen. Sullivan convened in Anchorage last August with HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and leaders from rural and urban Alaska communities.

“Housing is a catalyst for community development, good jobs, and pride in where you live, but affordable housing is out of reach for far too many Alaskans. I hear about it everywhere I travel in our great state,” said Sen. Sullivan. “I brought Secretary Fudge up to Alaska last summer to meet with stakeholders from urban and rural communities, and we had frank discussions about HUD’s burdensome regulations that make housing more expensive, particularly in rural Alaska. To her credit, Secretary Fudge committed to taking action, and now we have a new Alaska-focused task force to identify and remove federal red tape that just doesn’t work for a state as unique as Alaska. I look forward to working with the task force on actions the federal government can take on the executive and legislative side with the goal of bringing affordable housing within reach for more Alaska families.”

“Senator Sullivan’s attention and commitment to housing is a tremendous opportunity for Alaskan families,” said Colleen Dushkin, executive director of AAHA. “Through Senator Sullivan’s vision of the housing task force, we are thrilled to work with our federal partners and housing providers across the state. We look forward to positive outcomes and having a platform to provide an understanding of our housing challenges and the successes to increase the supply of safe, sanitary and affordable housing in our communities.”

“Access to housing and affordability are increasingly being discussed in our state and across the nation,”said Bryan Butcher, CEO and executive director of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. “The announcement about HUD’s taskforce to better understand Alaska is welcome. Thanks, Senator Sullivan, for your leadership in connecting the challenges we face in many of our villages with agency staff in Washington DC.”

“We are grateful to Senator Sullivan for his help in addressing this critical issue,” said Brian Ridley, chief and chairman of Tanana Chiefs Conference. “Housing continues to be the number one need in our communities.  Until we work to make affordable, efficient homes in our communities, with modern access to water and sewer,  our health and wellness outcomes will continue to suffer.”?

“Affordable housing sits at the core of family security and human dignity,” said Vivian Korthuis, CEO of the Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP). “We are thankful for Senator Sullivan's efforts to bring the needs of rural Alaska to the attention of our nation's capital. A common thread in our region is lack of affordable safe housing and this needs to be addressed across the board. Removing barriers for affordable housing is vitally important to the people in rural Alaska.”

Sen. Sullivan has been a leader in the Senate on finding innovative solutions to the housing crisis in Alaska and America. In December, he introduced the Workforce Housing Tax Credit (WHTC) Act with Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to increase the supply of affordable housing for families by broadening a tried-and-true federal tax incentive program—the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)—to include rental housing for middle-income earners. The bill seeks to catalyze the private sector to build more affordable housing for those who earn too much to qualify for low-income affordable housing and not enough to afford housing near where they work.

# # #