U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced Tuesday $12.7 million in funding to produce affordable housing for low-income Native Hawaiian families.
Since the program began in 2002, HUD’s Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands have built, acquired, and rehabilitated more than 460 housing units.
In addition, Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant-funded programs offered a wide variety of housing counseling services as well as do-it-yourself home repair training to more than 800 low-income Native Hawaiian families.
"I’m extremely proud of our close association with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands over these past ten years," said Donovan. "As our housing markets continue to recover, this grant will make a difference in the lives of hundreds of families struggling to find decent and affordable housing to live. HUD continues its support for reauthorization of the NHHBG program to ensure that affordable housing opportunities will continue to be provided to Native Hawaiian families into the future."
Sen. Daniel Inouye said, "The Native Hawaiian people and their culture are the foundation for the way of life we enjoy in Hawaii. They have given the great gift of Aloha to all who have come to Hawaii’s shores, their homeland, over the centuries. Unfortunately, like so many in this country, there are those in the Native Hawaiian community who have difficulty accessing affordable housing and taking the steps necessary to realize home ownership."
Se. Inouye continued, "I would like to thank Secretary Donovan and the administration for helping the Department of Hawaiian Homelands fulfill their critical mission of providing shelter for Native Hawaiian families."
According to its annual housing plan, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands will use the funds to do the following:
- Increase the affordable housing inventory on Hawaiian home lands through infrastructure development (mass grading, drainage, streets, utilities, etc.) and house construction including sweat equity projects.
- Reduce the purchase price of housing by providing direct assistance to eligible families through down payment assistance, principal reduction subsidies, low/no interest rate loans, and matching funds for Individual Development Accounts.
- Reduce the number of homes occupied by eligible families that are in need of repair or replacement to relieve substandard living conditions, overcrowding, and to improve energy efficiency through low/no interest loans and grants for home rehabilitation.
- Increase alternative energy resources and/or programs that will benefit eligible families as a means to reduce housing costs through loans and/or grants to install energy efficient devices including solar water heating, photovoltaic panels, etc.
- Increase community access to resources that will address public safety needs, organizational needs, and eligible model activities; including but not limited to safety enhancements, organizational support, community policing, and model activities that incorporate educational, cultural, and recreational activities for affordable housing residents.
- Increase access to educational or training programs that assist eligible native Hawaiian families with financial literacy education and counseling, homebuyer education, home maintenance, and foreclosure prevention.
- Ensure adequate administrative capacity for DHHL to implement and monitor the NHHBG program.