East Hawaii News

Senate Appropriations Committee Includes Native Hawaiian Housing in Bill

April 21, 2016, 9:23 AM HST
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United States Senator Brian Schatz. United State Senate photo.

United States Senator Brian Schatz. United State Senate photo.

In Washington Thursday morning, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced a bill that would provide funding for programs that support Native Hawaiian Housing and address homelessness not only in Hawai’i, but across the country.

The Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill would provide billions of dollars in funding, including $2.3 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, $20 million for 2,500 new housing vouchers for children who age out of foster care, $3 billion for Community Development Block Grants, $950 million for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, and $50 million for Housing and Urban Development Veterans Supportive Housing.

Senator Brian Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, has been working to secure funding for states with the highest level of need for housing resources.

A $5 million inclusion of funding for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program was worked into the legislation by Senator Schatz, along with other resources for affordable housing programs in the state and across the country.

“Homelessness and affordable housing are major challenges for us in Hawai‘i and this bill increases the federal resources the state can use to help families access safe, affordable housing,” said Senator Schatz. “Hawai‘i will need the federal government to remain a strong partner in the effort to combat homelessness and this bill is a good start. It provides funding for housing assistance including veterans housing vouchers, shelters, supportive housing, and homelessness service providers.”

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Five million dollars in funding for Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grants would provide financial assistance for Native Hawaiian families to obtain new homes, make renovations, build community facilities, and receive housing services that range from counseling to financial literacy.

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The Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant was established under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act to help Native Hawaiian families.  Funds from this grant are administered by the State of Hawai‘i Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the agency charged with carrying out the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.

After being advanced by the Senate committee, it will now travel to the Senate floor for consideration.

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