Hawaiʻi County Council takes first step to award $17.3M to seven affordable housing projects
Millions of dollars aimed at expanding the availability and affordability of housing on the Big Island are one step closer to being put into action after the Hawaiʻi County Council on Wednesday approved the first reading of a measure awarding more than $17.3 million to seven housing projects.
The Council voted 7-0 on the first reading of Bill 96 and an approved an accompanying resolution to authorize the Hawaiʻi County Office of Housing and Community Development to award the funds via the Affordable Housing Production Program.
The seven projects awarded were among 20 proposals requesting more than $55.4 million, far exceeding the available funding.
The organizations and proposals selected are:
- Kamakoa Nui LP aka Pacific Housing Assistance Corp., Nā Hale Mākoa, $2 million, 140 units, South Kohala.
- Mental Health Kokua, Manago Mauo, $5.5 million, 72 units, South Kona.
- Hoʻomalu at Waikoloa LP aka Stanford Carr, Hoʻomalu at Waikōloa, $3 million, 229 units, South Kohala.
- Hawaiʻi County Office of Housing and Community Development Community Development Division, Kamakoa Nui workforce housing mini-loop road and infrastructure development, $5.4 million, 643 units, South Kohala.
- Hawaiʻi Island Community Development Corp., Hale Ola ʻO Mohouli, $824,559.46, 90 units, Hilo.
- Housing and Land Enterprise dba Hale ʻO Hawaiʻi, Hale ʻO Hawaiʻi County Pa Aliʻi Street, $300,000, 1 unit, Puna.
- Housing and Land Enterprise dba Hale ʻO Hawaiʻi, Hale ʻO Hawaiʻi County University Heights, $300,000, 1 unit, Hilo.
Because of the time it took to develop and approve rules and create the electronic application for the program, funds from two fiscal years were combined into one request for proposal. Future funding rounds will be for a single fiscal year.
“The Office of Housing and Community Development has worked closely with the community to identify the priorities for Affordable Housing Production Program funding,” said Hawaiʻi County Housing Administrator Susan Kunz. “These projects will provide affordable housing for a wide range of income levels — including those who perform services vital to our communities, such as teachers, daycare providers, mechanics, health aids and police officers.”
The funding was made possible through a law passed in by the Council in June 2022 that appropriates a minimum of $5 million per year to the housing office to facilitate programs that support, increase and sustain the supply of affordable rental and owner-occupied housing in Hawai’i County.
In total, 1,176 housing units in the affordable housing pipeline will be impacted by the infusion of funds.
“We’re really excited about these funds. We had over 20 applicants and we have seven awardees, and this is just the first year of doing this,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth. “We look forward to giving out more money in the next few years to make sure that our local families can stay here on Hawaiʻi Island and live an amazing life.”
According to the 2019 Hawai’i Housing Planning Study, the Big Island needed to add 10,796 affordable housing units by 2025 to meet the community’s needs.
Since late 2020, the number of units in the affordable housing pipeline has increased from about 1,200 to more than 6,600. The housing office anticipates the completion of 159 units by the end of this year followed by an additional 217 in 2024.
Construction is expected to commence next year on about 650 units that will be completed in 2025 and 2026. That’s in addition to the construction of a loop road that will open up the development of 10 parcels at Kamakoa Nui in Waikōloa.
Bill 96 will be heard by the Council for a second reading before it’s full approval. The Office of Housing and Community Development will then draw up contracts with the awardees for the release of funds.