East Hawaii News

Nearly $9M Granted to Hawaiian Home Lands

July 15, 2015, 9:34 AM HST
* Updated July 15, 9:36 AM
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The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $8.7 million through a Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant to the Hawai’i State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Hawai’i’s congressional delegation made the announcement Tuesday.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard commented on the funding, noting that the grant will provide assistance to over 1,400 low-income Native Hawaiian families.

“Increased affordable homeownership has positive effects in our community on many levels. Since NAHASDA was enacted 18 years ago, preschool enrollment and proficiency rates in reading and mathematics have increased among Native Hawaiian children,” Congresswoman Gabbard said. “Additionally, crime rates in the Native Hawaiian community have decreased, and health care disparities such as diabetes and heart diseases have been reduced. This grant will continue to build strong communities in Hawai‘i for generations to come.”

United States Senator Brian Schatz also commented on the grant funding, saying that the investment will help DHHL build and maintain affordable housing units across the state, assist in helping families to purchase and finance a home, and provide loan assistance to ease the process of homeownership. “The Native Hawaiian community continues to face unique challenges when trying to access affordable housing, and that is why funding programs like the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program are critical to reversing long-standing housing inequality.”

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“Access to affordable housing is a key to building strong communities. However, too many Native Hawaiian families struggle to finance their first home,” U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono said in relation to the Tuesday announcement. “Investments in home ownership and access to affordable housing are investments in Hawai’i’s future and this funding will help DHHL’s beneficiaries pursue the dream of having a place to call home. In addition to meeting this responsibility, I will continue working with federal stakeholders to raise home affordability for all of Hawai‘i’s families.”

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Congressman Mark Takai believe the grants will provide a significant amount of funding that will really stretch out, providing existing Hawaiian Homelands and funding projects in the future.

“In a time where housing prices are at an all-time high, any assistance we receive to provide affordable housing to our Native Hawaiian community is crucial,” Congressman Takai said. “That is why the House passed the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act, a piece of legislation designed to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to the Native people of our country. I will always be an advocate for the citizens of our state.”

During the 2016 fiscal year, DHHL’s NHHBG plans to provide more than 300 rental and homeownership opportunities for Native Hawaiian Families, in addition to funding for the promotion of health and safety, rehabilitation assistance and energy saving investments for those who already own homes, and lending subsidies for home buyers.

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