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Hawaii to get $3 million from federal housing trust fund

  • JAMM AQUINO / SEPT. 2015

    Senator Brian Schatz is photographed at his chamber conference room inside the U.S. Federal Building in Honolulu.


    Two children rest on a hammock at a homeless encampment in Kakaako.

Hawaii will receive $3 million in new funding from the National Housing Trust Fund to pursue affordable rental housing.

The funding was announced today by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and would be directed toward efforts to provide affordable rental housing to households with incomes at or below 30 percent of median income. The money will be allocated through the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation, according to a news release from Schatz.

“These funds are desperately needed,” said Schatz. “This is new money for the state to use exclusively for the creation of new affordable rental and housing options for Hawai‘i’s working families. The housing challenges in Hawai‘i are due in no small part to a lack of inventory and the whole point of this money is to create units that can be used by individuals and families on the lower end of the income scale.”

The HHFDC will allocate 50 percent of the funding to the City and County of Honolulu to be administered by the Department of Community Services. The other half will be distributed on a rotating basis in coordination with the state’s HOME funding, and will go to Kauai this year.

“According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in 2015 there were more than 190,000 households renting in Hawai‘i. The average wage for these renters was $14.49 per hour. Meanwhile the hourly wage necessary to rent a two bedroom apartment in Honolulu is $34.81, on Maui is $24.31, on Kauai is $23.50 and in Hawai‘i County is $22.13,” according to the Schatz press release.

The National Housing Trust Fund was created by Congress in 2008, but this is the first year that states are receiving money, Schatz reported.

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