It was announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund on Thursday that certain areas of Alaska will no longer be eligible for rural development programs due to recent population changes.
The federal Housing Act defines rural as any place with a population not exceeding 10,000, or a place between 10,000 and 20,000 that is not part of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Currently Anchorage, Juneau and the City of Fairbanks are not eligible.
According to Nordlund, based on the 2010 Census, parts of the Matanuska-Susitna and Fairbanks North Star Boroughs will be ineligible as of October 1, 2013 due to population growth. These areas include the Knik-Fairview, Lakes and Wasilla Census Designated Places (CDPs) in Mat-Su; and College, South Van Horn, Badger and North Pole CDPs in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
“The current law does not craft a meaningful definition of rural,” stated Nordlund. “The areas being eliminated are still rural by any common sense point of view. Some of these CDPs are larger than entire counties in the lower 48, but because population density is not considered these areas are not eligible for our housing programs.” But, the announced areas will lose their eligibilty for rural housing status barring Congressional actions.
Applications that are completed prior to the deadline of October 1, 2013 will continue to use the rural definitions that are based on the 2000 Census data.
The new maps are available at the USDA website, to view them, go to https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov and select “Future Eligible Areas” on the left menu.