Affordable Housing for Native Hawaiians

[Photo: Presentation of ceremonial $9.6 million check for Hawaiian block grant program.]
A ceremonial check of $9.6 million is presented to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program (L-R: Gordan Furutani, Hawaii Field Office Director; Jenny Chock, Representative for Senator Daniel Inouye; Jobie Yamaguchi, Deputy Director Dept. of Hawaiian Home Lands; Lieutenant Governor Mazie Hirono; Assistant Secretary Mike Liu)

Data shows that 49 percent of Native Hawaiians experience housing problems as compared to 27 percent for all other U.S. households. Similarly, overcrowding for Native Hawaiians is 36 percent compared to 3 percent for all other households, and 70.8 percent of Native Hawaiians have incomes that fall below the median family income for Hawaii.

HUD has developed two new programs to help provide affordable housing to Native Hawaiians. These two new programs, which are available immediately to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), will have a dramatic impact on the ability of low-income Native Hawaiians to obtain the American Dream.

Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program

For the first time since the passage of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, Native Hawaiians will have access to Federal housing block grant funds appropriated solely for the benefit of Native Hawaiians eligible to live on Hawaiian Home Lands. The funding is similar to that that has been available to American Indians and Alaska Natives since 1996.

The Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program will provide $9.6 million in housing block grant funds this year (fiscal year 2002) to help the DHHL fund affordable housing activities. Another $10 million is included in HUD's fiscal year 2003 budget with the potential for more funding at higher levels in the future.

The housing block grant is an extremely valuable and versatile tool that can be used for a variety of purposes to meet the individual needs of Native Hawaiians, including:

  • Construction or reconstruction of affordable housing
  • Down payment and closing costs assistance
  • Direct lending or interest subsidies
  • Housing counseling
  • Payments to prevent foreclosures on homes
  • Tenant-based rental assistance
  • Safety and security activities

Section 184A Loan Guarantees for Native Hawaiian Housing Program

The second new program, the Section 184A Loan Guarantees for Native Hawaiian Housing, will provide $1 million of Federal loan guarantees to leverage millions of dollars of private mortgage resources to provide Native Hawaiians with greater access to mortgage loans for one- to four-family housing located on Hawaiian Home Lands.

With the greater flexibility of this new Federally-backed loan guarantee program, HUD expects the Section 184A loan guarantee program to enable Native Hawaiians to tap a variety of mortgage financing programs that up to now have not been possible under the Section 247 program. The $1 million in loan guarantee is expected to leverage up to $40 million in mortgage funds.

The loan guarantee program makes available another source of mortgage funds to help low-income Native Hawaiians become homeowners and complements the successful FHA Section 247 program.

Content Archived: August 19, 2011