More Ketchikan residents are eligible for an expanded rental and mortgage assistance program. That’s after Ketchikan’s city and borough governments earmarked a combined $5.8 million of federal pandemic relief funding for the program.

The locally run program is changing in two key ways: First, assistance is now available to households earning as much as $84,427 a year. That’s 120% of the median income in the area — which means more than half of Ketchikan-area households are now eligible. Previously, only households that made less than $69,840 were eligible.

The other key change is that now, officials are offering up to four months of rental and mortgage assistance for residents who have taken an economic hit from the pandemic.

James Johnson is with Community Connections, the Ketchikan nonprofit handling applications.

“We are able to now have people apply on a monthly basis for the next four months. They will need to continue applying each month, and that’s to certify that they do have an ongoing financial burden, but yes, one could potentially be approved for four months, as long as they’re able to keep attesting to that fact,” Johnson told KRBD.

So that’s up to four months of $1,200 checks sent straight from city and borough offices to landlords and lenders. But there’s a catch: if the money runs out, it runs out.

“Right, like we did have to end the last program a little bit before the deadline, so it is ongoing or until funds run out,” Johnson said.

Johnson says just shy of 1,000 households applied for one-time checks during the last round of assistance. They’ll be eligible for monthly payments in the expanded program, but they’ll have to reapply each month. In addition, Johnson estimates that raising the income limit will make 200 to 300 more households eligible for housing assistance.

Applications for the Ketchikan rent and mortgage assistance program are available at Community Connections’ website — that’s

Residents that live anywhere within the Ketchikan Gateway Borough are eligible, except those that live within Saxman city limits. Saxman has its own housing assistance program. It’s taking applications at