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National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week

With over 1,700 Alaskans experiencing homelessness many communities are working diligently to help those in need. Each year on the week before Thanksgiving, organizations across the nation come together to fight hunger and homelessness in their communities. 

Watch this short video to see how a little support can go a long way in the life of a homeless youth. 

Covenant House Alaska will be holding its annual Candlelight Vigil and Executive Sleep Out on November 19. Both events are geared toward awareness and educating the community about youth homelessness. They will also be accepting donations of warm coats, gloves, hats, scarves and boots. Contact Jessica Leystra at (907)339-4406 for more ways you can help

Here are ways you can support Homelessness initiatives in your communities: Fairbanks, MatSu, Juneau, Anchorage, Kenai

Energy saving tips for preparing your Thanksgiving feast

• Plan side dishes that can cook simultaneously with the turkey. If you cook dishes at the same temperature at the same time, you’ll reduce the amount of time the oven has to be running — it’s easier for the cook and saves energy, too.

• Lower your house thermostat a few degrees. The oven will keep the house warm. You also can turn on your ceiling fan so it sucks air up, distributing heat throughout the room.

• Use ceramic or glass pans — you can turn down the oven’s temp by up to 25 degrees and get the same results. That’s because these materials retain heat so well, they’ll continue cooking food even after being removed from the oven.

• Use your oven’s convection feature. When heated air is circulated around the food, it reduces the required temperature and cooking time. You’ll cut your energy use by about 20 percent.

• Use your dishwasher. It saves energy and water, so only hand-wash things that aren’t dishwasher-safe. Wait until you’ve got a full load before starting the dishwasher. Be sure to stop the appliance before the heated dry cycle; just open the door and let your dishes air-dry.

• Use the microwave instead of your regular oven whenever possible. Microwave ovens draw less than half the power of your regular oven, and they cook food in a much shorter period of time.

• Don't peek! When using the oven, it's tempting to frequently open the door to check on a dish's progress. Because the hot air that is contained in the oven is an important part of the appliance's cooking process, frequent peeking is self-defeating. Every time the oven door is opened, the temperature inside is reduced by as much as 25 degrees, forcing it to work even harder (and use more energy) to get back to the proper cooking temperature. If you need to check on a dish, use the oven window instead.

• Use the right size burners for your pots so that you don’t lose extra energy unnecessarily.

• Use an ice chest or cooler for drinks if you’re hosting a large group to cut down on wasting electricity when the refrigerator door is open.

• Cook more efficiently by using lids. When cooking with pots and pans, make sure to use lids whenever possible to retain heat. Doing so will allow you to save energy by cooking on lower heat settings over shorter cooking times.

AHFC offers a new class at Realtor Convention

The 2015 Alaska Association of Realtor's Convention met in Homer in September; the conference theme was "charting a course", an appropriate title amidst the regulatory changes the real estate and mortgage world is about to undergo.

Out of change comes the debut of a new class under the Dodd-Frank Act that includes rulemaking responsibility for the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and for most of the Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA), the laws that required the disclosure forms, transferred to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Congress also directed the CFPB to combine the TILA and RESPA forms now referred to as TRID. CFPB, under the "Know Before You Owe" requirement replaces the disclosure forms to consumers with forms that are easier for the consumer to read. Alaska Housing Finance Corporation's Outreach Specialists Maude Morse and Maria Celli attended this year's convention. Morse developed and delivered a new class about how lending practices are expected to change under the requirements. The class, approved for CEU's, demonstrates the renewed importance of communication, disclosures and working well together as a home purchase team to help homebuyers become homeowners.

AHFC Photo Contest Winner
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation was on hand to recognize the Past Presidents and Realtor of the Year at the Alaska Association of Realtors convention. Congratulations to Paddy Coan. In a nod toward social media and millennial buyers, AHFC engaged in a photo contest on Facebook. Congratulations to Kelly Thomas, Realtor from McKinley View Real Estate, who received the most likes and was declared winner. Thomas' submission in the "What Home Means To Me" contest included an outdoor yoga pose with Mt. McKinley in the background. Thanks also to her Broker Holly Stinson who was the photographer.

Alaska Housing is proud to be an affiliate member and has participated, sponsored and attend the state's real estate conventions for many years.

Veterans- Thank you for your service

Veterans in Alaska constitute about 11% of the overall population.  From the 78,000 residents who hold this esteemed title; to the 27,000 active duty personnel, including National Guard & Reserves; plus the estimated 126,000 dependents who complete this family, it is easy to see why Alaska loves and honors its Veterans at every opportunity. 

AHFC offers mortgage loan programs to assist Veterans who seek homeownership.  The Veteran’s Mortgage Program (VMP) provides financing to qualified Veterans to purchase, construct or renovate single family residences and with certain restrictions, duplexes to fourplexes.  Eligible Veterans may not have been discharged from active duty service more than 25 years prior to application and must be Alaska residents.  If retired, discharged or released from duty, separation must have been under conditions other than dishonorable status.  The program covers individuals serving in all branches of the U.S. Military and extends to the Public Health Service and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.  AHFC’s VMP program may be used in conjunction with Federal VA, FHA, HUD-184, RD and Conventional financing.

Learn more about AHFC's Veteran's Mortgage Program HERE.

I'm late! I'm late! For a Very Important Date!

November 1 is Daylight Saving Time so remember to set your clocks back one hour at 2:00 a.m., or you may be late for work on Monday morning.

Did you know?

• Germany was the first country to implement Daylight Saving Time
• Ancient civilizations are known to have engaged in a practice similar to modern Daylight Saving Time where they would adjust their daily schedules to the Sun's schedule.
• The idea of daylight saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin during his sojourn as an American delegate in Paris in 1784, in an essay, "An Economical Project."
• In 1918 Daylight Saving Time – or “fast time”, as it was called then – was first introduced when President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law to support the war effort during World War I.
• Daylight Saving Timeis used in over 70 countries worldwide and affects over a billion people every year.
• Currently, most of the United States observes Daylight Saving Time except for Hawaii and most of Arizona, as well as the U.S. insular areas of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam.
• Through 2006, Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. ended a few days before Halloween (October 31). Children’s pedestrian deaths are four times higher on Halloween than on any other night of the year. A new law to extend Daylight Saving Time to the first Sunday in November took effect in 2007, with the purpose of providing trick-or-treaters more light and therefore more safety from traffic accidents.

• In September 1999, the West Bank was on Daylight Saving Time while Israel had just switched back to standard time. West Bank terrorists prepared time bombs and smuggled them to their Israeli counterparts, who misunderstood the time on the bombs. As the bombs were being planted, they exploded--one hour too early--killing three terrorists instead of the intended victims--two busloads of people.