July 17, 2012

A decade of producing affordable housing for Native Hawaiians

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With Hawaii trailing only Manhattan and Brooklyn as the most expensive housing market in the country, we know that living in this most beautiful of states can often be a financial challenge for many families.

For Native Hawaiian families, part of the solution is an opportunity to live on Hawaiian home lands where homes often cost half of what they would elsewhere. And since Native Hawaiian families can transfer their homeownership rights to a relative with at least 25 percent Hawaiian ancestry, living on the home lands is as much about preserving centuries of culture, traditions and heritage as it is about economics.

But with a waiting list of thousands, it’s not an opportunity that is available for a lot of Native Hawaiians, leaving too many grappling with the high cost of housing. That’s why today HUD announced nearly $13 million in funding to produce affordable housing for low-income native Hawaiian families. Since the program began in 2002, HUD’s Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands have built, acquired, and rehabilitated more than 460 housing units.

In addition, NHHBG-funded programs offered a wide variety of housing counseling services as well as do-it-yourself home repair training to more than 800 low-income Native Hawaiian families.

HUD is extremely proud of the close association with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands over these past ten years. As our housing markets continue to recover, this grant will make a difference in the lives of hundreds of families struggling to find decent and affordable housing to live. HUD also continues its support for reauthorization of the NHHBG program to ensure that affordable housing opportunities will continue to be provided to Native Hawaiian families into the future.

As Senator Inouye said, “The Native Hawaiian people and their culture are the foundation for the way of life we enjoy in Hawaii.  They have given the great gift of Aloha to all who have come to Hawaii’s shores, their homeland, over the centuries,” and this grant will help fulfill the critical mission of providing shelter for Native Hawaiian families.

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