Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

City of Kodiak promises land for housing program as funding and potential homes in limbo

Coast Guard family housing near Lake Louise. The Nemetz Park housing development will add 50 new units nearby. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)
U.S. Coast Guard
Coast Guard family housing near Lake Louise. The Nemetz Park housing development will add 50 new units nearby.

The statewide nonprofit RurAL CAP is accepting pre-screening applications in anticipation of a new housing program being unveiled in Kodiak. Although dozens of residents have already applied, the funding is not yet secured.

On June 13 the Kodiak City Council committed to sell city-owned lots where at least ten homes could be built, in order to support RurAL CAP’s mutual self-help housing program.

The lots are wooded and undeveloped, and sit between the municipal airport and Selief Lane. Although, they can easily be connected to local sewer and water along with city-provided electricity. The lots are listed as Lakeside Block 1, Lots 2, 3, 4 & 5 on Selief Lane.

At the same time as the council meeting, Mi’shell French, the director of rural housing at RurAL CAP, told KMXT that the nonprofit had received more than 30 pre-screening applications while visiting Kodiak on June 13 and 14.

“And we are still accepting applications. And the more applications that we receive, the more need that we can demonstrate to both the city, the borough, the USDA and all of our partners;" French explained. "Which would hopefully allow us to continue providing this program there [in Kodiak], more than just one phase.”

French said RurAL CAP, which invests in housing, education and health for low-income Alaskans, will continue to accept pre-screening applications until the program is ready to begin construction in Kodiak. She estimates it would take 12 to 14 months for the houses to be built once construction starts. Pre-screening applications are available at the Kodiak Island Housing Authority and online at RurAL CAP’s website.

Several residents advocated for the housing program during the June 13 council meeting. A man who introduced himself as Boaz is a newer addition to the community. He moved from Seattle to Kodiak in May, and since has struggled to find an affordable, stable housing option in town. He works for TSA at the Kodiak Airport and is hoping to bring his family over from Washington State to live with him.

“Right now I live in a mobile van. You can see that white van outside, that’s my home right now," Boaz told the council. "And I am hoping and praying that the council will consider the RurAL CAP mutual housing program. This will be a great start for future generations to come to contribute to the economy of Kodiak.”

Aside from recent transplants like Boaz, there are plenty of longtime families in Kodiak who are looking for housing as well. The Kodiak Island Housing Authority estimates up to 75 new homes need to be built just for families with household incomes over $100,000.

Rural CAP’s housing program would provide homes for ten to 12 families, after they put in 35 hours a week to build them by themselves. RurAL CAP’s mutual self-help housing program has constructed 93 homes in Alaska with nine currently under construction and 39 more planned to be built over the next two years across four communities. The plan is for ten of those homes to be built in Kodiak.

However, there is still a possibility that RurAL CAP’s housing program may not get off the ground in Kodiak. A big factor is the question of overall costs.

Bob Marquez, the rural housing manager with RurAL CAP, told the council at the June meeting that homeowners will be the ones shouldering the majority of the burden of development costs, and urged the council to sell the city’s property to the nonprofit at an affordable rate.

“It’s going to need a lot of blasting. It’s going to need a lot of work that’s going to make that property [on Selief Lane] very expensive to develop," Marquez stated. "So we not only need property, we need that property to be affordable because RurAL CAP doesn’t receive proceeds from that. KIHA doesn’t, Koniag, nor the City. The community will receive their proceeds when people [homeowners] start paying taxes.”

Even though the council unanimously agreed to sell four lots on Selief Lane, Lakeside Block 1, Lots 2, 3, 4 & 5, the final price tag for the property is not yet set.

Another hurdle is that the final sale of the four city lots is contingent on RurAL CAP receiving funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development 523 technical assistance grant. French said the nonprofit likely won’t know if they are awarded the grant money or not until 2025.

Related Content