New report finds 16,000 houses are overcrowded across the state

Published: Jan. 25, 2018 at 6:49 PM AKST
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Alaska's rate of overcrowding is double the national average, according to a new report.

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation commissioned the Cold Climate Housing Research Center to look at the state's housing gap.

Findings showed overcrowding is especially prominent in rural communities.

Dustin Madden, a policy researcher with the Cold Climate Housing Research Center said parts of rural Alaska and Western Alaska are about 12 times the national average with nearly half of all homes being considered overcrowded.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines overcrowding as having more than 1 person per room in a household and severely overcrowded if there is more than 1.5 people per room.

When households exceed those numbers, it can have negative impacts.

"You see these correlations to negative impacts to health and education in places that have more than that number of people per room," Madden said.

In addition to needing more than 16,000 units to be built to alleviate overcrowding, the state's senior population is expected to double by 2030.

Jimmy Ord, department manager for research and rural development at the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation said more housing needs to be built with a growing senior population.

"There's 318 senior facilities that need to be built annually to meet the expected population boom in senior citizens," Ord said.

The report also found:

-The state is short nearly 16,000 affordable and available housing units for extremely low-income households.

-More than 12,000 homes lack complete kitchens and/or plumbing.

-More than 14,000 houses have a 1-star energy efficiency rating out of 6.