Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/28/1994 09:05 AM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 The Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee was called to               
 order by Chairman Randy Phillips at 9:05 a.m.  He introduced  HB 467     7    
  (AHFC HOUSING LOANS) as the first order of business.                         
                                                                               
 DAVID HARDING, staff to Representative Eileen MacLean, explained              
 the legislation makes changes to the Rural Loan Program of the                
 Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.  The bill has three goals that            
 will contribute to greater investment in rural housing.                       
                                                                               
 The first goal is to allow all the regional housing authorities to            
 sell and service AHFC loans.  Most of these regional authorities              
 are already handling AHFC loans, but six of them are prohibited               
 simply because they are located in communities where there is an              
 AHFC office.  The regional authorities already work with the                  
 smaller communities, primarily on HUD projects; they know the rural           
 areas; and they have the lending expertise.  AHFC would like to see           
 these regional authorities have the same lending powers as their              
 counterparts in other parts of the state.                                     
                                                                               
 The second goal of the bill is to encourage more private investment           
 in multi-unit housing by doubling the size of complexes that are              
 eligible for loans under AHFC and by allowing owners to live in one           
 of these units to allow closer monitoring and better maintenance of           
 the complex.                                                                  
                                                                               
 The third goal is to increase the limit of AHFC's participation in            
 water and sewer hookups to eligible housing projects.  This funding           
 is dependent on federal support, and any increase in AHFC's                   
 participation will not reduce the federal contribution.                       
                                                                               
 Mr. Harding said the changes made in HB 467 will lead to more                 
 housing construction in remote areas, greater availability in                 
 rental units and better servicing of AHFC loans.                              
 Number 030                                                                    
                                                                               
 WILBER JOE, Executive Director of the Copper River Basin Regional             
 Housing Authority and testifying from Glennallen, stated support              
 for HB 467.  He said the law needs to be amended, particularly for            
 the outlining areas in Nome, Bethel, Dillingham and Kotzebue where            
 water and sewer seems to be a problem.  It will make more services            
 allowable for areas in Alaska with higher sewer and water costs by            
 increasing AHFC's ability to match HUD housing projects                       
 contributions from 20 percent to 30 percent, which will help rural            
 Alaska meet the higher costs of water and sewer.  Further, housing            
 authorities usually have a better understanding of local conditions           
 and problems in remote areas.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 070                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS asked if the Copper River Housing Authority has a               
 problem with titles to land that hampers obtaining loans.   WILBER            
 JOE answered that the land that is put up for the housing in their            
 area is sponsored by the regional corporation, so the land is put             
 up by the people as an investment in the housing project.                     
                                                                               
 Number 090                                                                    
                                                                               
 BRUCE KOVARIK, Executive Director of the Bering Straits Regional              
 Housing Authority and testifying from Nome, voiced their support              
 for HB 467.  He said the attractiveness of the bill is that it                
 allows them, as a tool, to participate in the rural loan program              
 throughout the region.  Although the Bering Straits Regional                  
 Housing Authority is not currently doing that, it is an option for            
 the future in terms of assisting families in achieving the goal of            
 home ownership.  Also, the matching funds with the supplemental               
 housing program will help them to accommodate the additional costs            
 of sewer and water as new housing projects are being built.                   
                                                                               
 Number 140                                                                    
                                                                               
 JACKIE JOHNSON, President of the Alaska Association of Housing                
 Authorities, and Executive Director of Tlingit Haida Regional                 
 Housing Authority, stated support for HB 467.                                 
                                                                               
 Ms. Johnson said one of the things that concerned the association             
 at the time of the merger of Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and           
 the Rural Loan Program was the equitable balance between the loans            
 that AHFC was servicing with the primary critical need of the rural           
 communities where they felt the greatest need of housing was.  They           
 believe this is a good step in the direction that AHFC has taken in           
 trying to find better service to rural communities in addressing              
 their housing needs.  She noted that currently, HUD is still the              
 primary funder of housing, and she stressed the need for local                
 residents to be able to access these types of programs.                       
                                                                               
 Ms. Johnson also spoke to the importance of the increase in the               
 percentage of supplemental funds for the much needed water and                
 sewer in the rural areas.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 220                                                                    
                                                                               
 There being no further testimony on HB 467, SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS            
 asked for the pleasure of the committee.                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS moved that HB 467 be passed out of committee with               
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
 ordered.                                                                      

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