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Hawaiʻi State legislature to vote on $1 billion in funding for affordable housing

The Hawaiʻi State legislature will vote on a bill that would appropriate $600 million for a special fund for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to develop housing for native Hawaiians on the DHHL waiting list.  Photo Courtesy: DHHL

With nearly $1 billion in funds recently approved in conference committees for affordable housing throughout Hawaiʻi, the full state legislature will vote this week on the nine bills. 

This funding will help the homeless, very-low income, moderate-income and working families with rent relief and housing. Developers will apply for and compete for funding to develop affordable housing.

“The affordable housing bills passed this year will help struggling families in Hawaiʻi,” said Finance Committee Chair Sylvia Luke (District 25). “Unprecedented funding — close to $1 billion — will result in new rental and for-sale affordable housing throughout our state.”

Hawaiʻi had the second highest per capita rate of homelessness in the nation.

Human Services and Homelessness Chair Ryan Yamane (District 37) added: “We’re building on the success of the Ohana Zone pilot program by adding $15 million to develop more housing options and coordinate needed services for our houseless families. This will directly help our homelessness challenge.”

To address the 28,000 native Hawaiians on the Department Home Lands waiting list, Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Chair Mark Nakashima (District 1) said: “Aggressive development of house lots and homes for native Hawaiians can take place with the $600 million infusion of funds. And for the first time, funding for mortgage down payments and/or rental assistance will provide further options for families on the DHHL wait list.”

The housing bills:

  • HB 2511 –  Funding for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL): Establishes the Hawaiian home lands special fund and appropriates $600 million.  Funds will be used to develop housing in all counties for native Hawaiians on the DHHL waiting list.  Funds also will be used for down payment assistance and mortgage payment assistance to beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920.
  • SB 3048 – Funding for the Rental Housing Revolving Fund: Appropriates $300 million into the Rental Housing Revolving Fund. For the first time, funding has been set aside (up to $150 million) to develop rental housing for working individuals and families with incomes about 60 and at or below 100% of the median family income for the State of Hawaiʻi. 
  • HB 2512 – Funding and extension of Ohana Zones Pilot Program: Appropriates $15 million to extend the Ohana Zone pilot program until 2026. Allows the funds to be used for temporary shelter, permanent transitional housing and services, which can include medical, social support and transportation.
  • HB 1600 – Other Housing Funds in the State Budget: Appropriates $20 million for the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund to facilitate the development of infrastructure for affordable housing and $5 million to the Affordable Homeownership Revolving Fund to provide gap financing for for-sale housing.
  • HB 2233 – Relating to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Provides First-to-Work participants in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Temporary Assistance for Other Needy Families programs up to $500 per month for rental assistance. This will benefit more than 4,000 working families participating in both programs.
  • HB 1837 – Affordable Housing Working Group: Funds and establishes a working group on affordable housing to foster increased inter-agency coordination on housing and land use issues; to address barriers to affordable housing development; and to propose future legislation. 
  • HB 1752 – Housing Voucher Program Incentives: Appropriates $1.5 million to establish incentives for landlords to participate in the Tenant-based Assistance Housing Choice Voucher Program and cover property damage expenses that exceed tenant’s security deposit up to one month of rent.  Adds staff to the Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority to improve service delivery and ensure housing inspections take place within 15 days of a landlord or owner’s request.
  • HB 1829 – Private Activity Bonds for Affordable Housing: Requires allocation of the annual ceiling to a county with a population of 500,000 or more to be used only for rental housing projects eligible for low-income housing tax credits.  Prohibits the authorization of special purpose revenue bonds requiring allocation of the annual ceiling, unless requested by the governor and approved by the Legislature, between June 30, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2028.
  • SB 206 – Rental Discrimination: Prohibits discrimination, including in advertisements for rental property, in rental transactions based on participation in the Section 8 housing choice program or any permanent supportive housing programs.

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2022/05/02/hawai%ca%bbi-state-legislature-to-vote-on-1-billion-in-funding-for-affordable-housing/

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