The Village of Kasaan on Prince of Wales Island has been awarded a $373,000 grant to build a duplex that will provide housing for teachers on one side and low-income tribal members on the other.

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation awarded the grant in cooperation with the Rasmuson Foundation. It was part of about $2 million in housing grants for four rural Alaska communities.

Stacy Schubert is a spokeswoman for Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. She said that group’s mission is to provide safe, affordable homes for state residents.

“And one of the ways that we do that is through our teacher housing program, where we actually are able to provide what we call gap funding for projects that benefit housing in communities that support not only teachers, but also health professionals and safety professionals, VPSOs and the like,” she said.

For those grants, Schubert said the corporation uses dividends from its investments, along with contributions from Rasmuson.

Dale Olney is the project manager for the Kasaan duplex. He said the Alaska Housing grant is funding part of the duplex. The rest is through the federal Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act program.          

“The project is estimated to be completed by May of 2020, with the foundation and initial construction beginning this year,” he said.

Olney said the duplex will be built on Kasaan school grounds.

“It makes it very nice for the teachers if they don’t also have to worry about getting around a long distance, if they’re able to walk or have a short commute from the housing to the place of work,” he said.

The other three Alaska Housing grants were $550,000 for Hoonah Indian Association for seven two-bedroom units and office space for the tribe’s behavioral health program; $381,000 to help the Village of Tunanak build a home to attract a Village Public Safety Officer; and $550,000 for Huslia Village Council to build a duplex for law enforcement and health professionals serving that community.