Homer City Hall. (Homer News file photo)

Homer City Hall. (Homer News file photo)

Commercial fishing, housing relief programs are live

City now accepting applications for additional financial grant programs

Two additional grant programs being offered by the City of Homer for those impacted by the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic have gone live and are available to the public.

The Homer City Council approved the creation of a housing assistance grant program and a program to aid local commercial fishermen last month. Both of those grant programs went live on Monday on the city’s website and are accepting applications.

The Fishermen Economic Relief Grant Program (FERG), is for commercial fishing businesses that are based out of Homer. Captains or vessel owners can apply on behalf of their crews. The city allocated $1.3 million to this relief program.

A single business could be eligible for up to $8,000 in financial relief. The city is offering up to $2,000 per vessel owner or captain, up to $1,000 per commercial fishing permit holder, and up to $1,000 per crew member (up to five crew members).

The deadline to apply for the FERG program is at 5 p.m. Nov. 29. Applications can be submitted online through the city website, dropped off at Homer City Hall or mailed (postmarked by the program deadline) to:

City of Homer

ATTN: FERG – Sara Perman

491 East Pioneer Ave.

Homer, AK 99603

For more information on the fishermen relief program, to read the frequently asked questions or to download an application, visit cityofhomer-ak.gov/covid-relief/fisherman-economic-relief-grant-program-0

Those interested in applying can also contact Program Manager Sara Perman at 907-299-0523 or sperman@ci.homer.ak.us.

The city received 31 applications for the FERG program on the first day it opened, according to Special Projects and Communications Coordinator Jenny Carroll, who gave the city council an update during their Monday night meeting.

“I’ve heard from Sara that there have been several inquiries about the eligibility criteria, which I thought you all as policy makers might be interested in,” Carroll said. “There’s been a few from fishing operations that store their vessel in Homer, but they don’t moor in the Homer Harbor, which is one of our eligibility criteria. There have been a few requests from others who permanently reside in Homer, but they do not base their vessel here. … So in both of those situations, these fishing operations are not eligible.”

The other financial relief program to go live recently is the Mortgage and Rent Relief Grant Program (MARRG). This program was modeled off partnerships other Alaska cities and the Kenai Peninsula Borough had already made with the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to provide relief for homeowners and renters.

The city council allocated $763,200 to the Mortgage and Rent Relief Grant Program. Applicants can be eligible for payments of up to $1,200 per month for up to six months to help with current, past due or future rent or mortgage payments. The grants go directly to the landlord or lender, not the applicant.

To be eligible for this program, applicants need to be city residents. The household income at the time of the application must be at or below 80% of the median income, $71,760, according to the program’s webpage.

For more information on this housing program, visit cityofhomer-ak.gov/covid-relief/mortgage-rent-relief-grants-homer-residents-economically-impacted-covid-19.

The deadline for the MARRG program is the same as the FERG program — Nov. 29.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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