Ch’anikna Commons in Anchorage, AK, has won a 2020 Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award in the Small Metropolitan Category (city population 50,000 to 300,000).
Ch’anikna Commons, developed by Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA) and Anchorage Community Land Trust, is the full redevelopment of a 1970s blighted condo development into 21 townhouse-style apartments affordable for households making at or below 60 percent of area median income, with five homes set-aside for formerly homeless individuals. The property was completely renovated to provide greater energy efficiency, safety and aesthetic upgrades, including a 24-panel Solar Photovoltaic system that supports common-area electricity uses.
Located in Mountain View, one of Anchorage’s oldest neighborhoods, the former buildings had the highest rate of police responses in the neighborhood. Today, Ch’anikna Commons provides children and their families a beautiful new place to call home – fitting, as Ch’anikna (cha NEEK nuh) is the outer Dena’ina region word meaning “my children.” The development is also located near two city bus lines, a neighborhood grocery store, two elementary schools and a junior high school.
CIHA’s Mountain View Resident Engagement Coordinator, with an office located just blocks away, provides event programming and activities for Ch’anikna Commons and other nearby CIHA properties. Programming is designed with a focus on the five resident engagement initiative priority areas: financial self-sufficiency; health and wellness; college and career exploration; resident engagement and building community; and safety and emergency preparedness.
To make this property possible, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation awarded Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (Housing Credits), which were syndicated by R4 Capital and resulted in a $2.7 million investment from Northrim Bank. Additional groups and businesses provided grants, including the Anchorage Community Land Trust, Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Rasmuson Foundation, and Wells Fargo.
Statement from U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
“We know affordable housing is vital to advancing the shared prosperity of a community. It is important to health and wellness, public safety, and setting the foundation for educational success of our children,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in a congratulatory video. “Congratulations to Cook Inlet Housing Authority and the Anchorage Community Land Trust on your award in Housing Credit excellence for transforming a 1970s condo development into affordable townhouse-style apartments. The Ch’anikna Commons will help countless Alaskans find a safe, quality, affordable place to call home.”
Statement from U.S. Representative Don Young (R-AK-At large)
“Access to safe, stable, affordable housing is one of the most important ways we can empower Alaskan families to live productive and dignified lives,” said Congressman Don Young (R-AK-At large). “For nearly five decades, the Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA) has helped hundreds of Alaskans secure reliable housing, and I am very deeply grateful for their positive impact on our state. Ch’anikna Commons is an impressive project, and this partnership between CIHA and the Anchorage Community Land Trust will be critical for keeping roofs over families’ heads and fighting homelessness in Alaska. The Ch’anikna Commons project was made possible in part by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which continues to be one of our most essential tools at the federal level to help Americans from all walks of life secure housing. I have been a long-time supporter of this tax credit, and am proudly cosponsoring legislation to produce nearly 2 million new affordable housing units by expanding it. I want to thank both CIHA and their President and CEO Carol Gore, the Anchorage Community Land Trust, and everyone whose hard work and advocacy helped make this project possible. I look forward to seeing the positive impact Ch’anikna Commons has in the community and its future residents for years to come.”