Honolulu Field Office Newsletter
Na Hana Ku Aloha
�Achieving Through the Spirit of Aloha�
Volume 3 Issue 4
Na'alehu Theatre will receive a Rural Housing and Economic Development capacity building grant for $89,780. One of the priority needs identified in the 1998 Economic Development Plan for the District of Ka'u is basic infrastructure development such as water. Na'alehu represents 25% of the total population for Ka'u.
The grant will be used to provide technical support for the formation of a self-sustaining, community-based water board, to develop a consensus for a water distribution plan, and to implement water projects. Community water training will include management and policy development skills for exercising wise use of water resources. Na'alehu Theatre will serve as the initial Fiscal Agent for the start-up.
Grant funds will also be used to establish and oversee youth apprenticeship programs. The closure of the sugar plantation in 1996 created tremendous economic hardship for Ka'u. The unemployment rate for Ka'u, as of the 1999 Census data, is 12.7%. The area has a poverty rate above 20%. Na'alehu Theatre has had a business incubator project for five years providing services to would-be non-profit organizations. Apprenticeship training will include food service, marketing, theatre production, and museum care taking.
For more information, contact: Chelle Shand, Executive Director,
Na'alehu Theatre, at (808) 929-9133.
Communities across Oahu learned first-hand about the home buying process through a series of free community homebuyer fairs which were conducted every Saturday in June. These homebuyer fairs were designed to bring the information to the community in a familiar setting where people would feel comfortable talking with professionals from the housing industry. Fair participants were introduced to the various programs and services local organizations and government agencies offer to help people attain the American Dream of homeownership.
Representatives from 14 different housing organizations were on hand to provide information and answer questions from potential first-time homebuyers. Lenders assisted with mortgage pre-qualifications, offered free credit reports, and responded to financing-related questions. Realtors shared their expertise on how to find a home. Non-profit organizations provided information about self-help housing projects, homebuyer education classes, one-on-one housing counseling services, and individual development savings accounts. Local, State, and Federal government agencies discussed fair housing rights, the home buying program for Hawaiian Home Lands, and an array of Government loan programs.
Even our youngest community members had a chance to participate
in the homebuyer fairs. A popular station for younger participants
was the coloring contest for those 17 years and under. Children
and youth did a wonderful job of expressing their creativity and
imagination in coloring their dream home. The judges had a tough
job of selecting only two winners for each homebuyer fair. Contest
winners were treated to pizza from California Pizza Kitchen and
two free movie tickets courtesy of one of the Fair's participating
The Community Homebuyer Fairs were a huge success thanks to all of the participating organizations and sponsors. The Fairs were made possible due to the collaborative effort and support of all these partners: Catholic Charities Community and Immigrant Services, City and County of Honolulu, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, Honolulu Board of Realtors, Honolulu Habitat for Humanity, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Mortgage Bankers Association of Hawaii (with special thanks to American Savings Bank, Bank of Hawaii, Central Pacific Bank, City Bank, and Irwin Mortgage Corporation), Nanakuli Neighborhood Housing Services, PEMCO, Ltd., Self-Help Housing Corporation of Hawaii, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Waimanalo Community Development Corporation of Hawaii, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
At long last, the City and County of Honolulu Section 8 program
has reopened its waiting list and is accepting new applications
for its Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program effective Monday,
June 25, 2001. Applications will be accepted in the order received.
The Section 8 office is located at 842 Bethel Street. Applications
are available from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday,
excluding holidays. Applications will also be available for pick
up only at all Satellite City Halls and WorkHawaii/Oahu Worklinks
One-Stop Centers. For further information, call the Section 8 Office
at 527-5974 (or TTY: 527-5947).
An 11-state pilot program (Hawaii is not a participant) called Project Access, will allow disabled families with incomes up to 99% of area median to use Section 8 vouchers, previously used only for renting, for homeownership. Families will be able to purchase a modest home without paying more than 30% of their income for homeownership expenses.
The states selected to participate include: Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. The first vouchers are to be distributed within the next three months.
HUD will be partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (DHHS) to implement this program. HUD will provide the
vouchers and technical assistance, and DHHS will help voucher holders
make the transition to community living arrangements.
On June 13, 2001, HUD published proposed rules to allow PHAs to
offer down payment assistance grants as a part of its Section 8
Homeownership program. Under the Housing Choice Voucher Program,
a PHA may, in lieu of paying a monthly homeownership assistance
payment on behalf of a family, provide homeownership assistance
for the family in the form of a single grant to be used toward the
down payment required in connection with the purchase of a home.
The grant may not exceed an amount equal to the sum of the assistance
payments that would be made during a family's first year of assistance.
HUD is excited about two competitions that will assist distressed communities throughout the country. In May 2001, HUD invited urban and rural communities to apply for 40 new urban and rural designations as Renewal Communities (RCs) and seven additional urban designations as Empowerment Zones (EZs). The applications are due in September and the designations will be made in December, 2001. The RC and EZ designations will be worth over $22 billion in tax incentives to businesses that locate or expand in RC- or EZ-designated communities.
This is the first year that the RC designation is being offered.
The EZ designation is being offered for the third time. For Round
II, groups from Oahu, Molokai, Kauai and Kau on the island of Hawaii
submitted applications to be designated as a Federal EZ. Molokai
was designated as an Enterprise Community and Kauai and Kau were
invited to be Champion Communities. Empower Oahu, the group that
submitted the Round II application, will be trying again for the
urban designation in Round III. For more information on RCs and
EZs, visit the HUD website or call (808) 522-8185 ext. 246.
Small business owners and representatives of community-based nonprofit
economic development groups throughout the State will have an opportunity
this fall to participate in half-day conferences on their islands
to hear about resources available to help small business and nonprofit
groups start or grow their business and projects. The conferences
will also cover how to work though the maze of regulatory requirements,
how to market your products, and how to produce effective business
plans. Agencies and organizations will also be staffing information
tables to share material and help answer questions of the Summit
participants. The Summits are planned for September 12 in Hilo,
September 13 in Kona, September 18 on Maui, September 19 on Kauai,
and September 20 on Oahu. For more information on the Summits, call
(808) 522-8185 ext. 246.
Former HUD Community Builder, Michael Liu has been nominated by
President Bush for the position of HUD Assistant Secretary for Public
and Indian Housing. Currently a Senior Vice President and Community
Investment Officer for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, Liu
has served in a variety of capacities in State and Federal government.
HUD coordinated seven statewide workshops from June 19-21, 2001 on Census 2000, in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, Los Angeles Regional Office. The workshops focused on how to use census data in funding proposals, with the goal of attracting more Federal funds to Hawaii.
Jerry Wong, Information Services Specialist from the Census Bureau presented current data for each County, hands-on pointers on how to navigate the Census Bureau web site (www.census.gov), and discussed possible trends. University of Hawaii Professor, Jon Okamura provided his insights on the impact of changing demographic data on Hawaii at the workshop held at the HUD main conference room.
Local sponsors and hosts included Congressman Neil Abercrombie, Kauai Community College with the County of Kauai Office of Economic Development, Windward Community College, Leeward Community College, Hawaii Community College, University of Hawaii Center-West Hawaii, Empower Oahu, and Waipahu Community Association.
Jerry Wong's presentation will be available on the Department of
Business, Economic Development and Tourism website under "Workshop/
presentations /training modules" by July 15.
Kupuna along the Waianae coast now have a resource center right
in their backyard. On May 31, 2001, the Waianae Coast Coalition
(WCC) dedicated its new community resource center as a one-stop
shop for senior citizens to receive information on programs and
services available to them. One room in the office of the WCC has
been designated as the Kupuna resource center with a library of
books, videotapes, and other forms of informational material on
subjects appropriate for senior citizens. WCC is also a HUD Community
Resource Partner. Residents of the Waianae coast can obtain information
on HUD programs and services at the WCC Office. WCC is located in
the Waianae Satellite City Hall and can be reached at 696-1217.
Acting Governor Mazie Hirono signed into law Senate Bill 1365 on
June 25, 2001, approving $350,000 of state funds to support the
expansion of the successful Weed and Seed initiative in additional
communities throughout the State. A federal initiative of the U.S.
Department of Justice, Weed and Seed has helped to reduce crime
significantly in the Kalihi-Palama-Chinatown area and is now having
the same impact in Waipahu. Communities interested in the Weed and
Seed initiative should contact Maile Kanemaru, Weed and Seed Coordinator
A recent community assets survey has revealed information on some of the services that local faith-based groups are providing for Hawaii's communities. Over 100 churches responded to an informal survey developed by HUD staff in this initial phase of a project that reflects a unique partnership with HUD, State of Hawaii Volunteer Services (SVS), and the Brigham Young University-Hawaii Campus. SVS did the outreach to faith groups, and students of a Social Work class in "Social Research Methods" at BYU analyzed and summarized the available data under the tutelage of Professor Derrick Tollefsen.
The purpose of the project is to identify a resource network of faith-based programs available to help individuals and families in need and will be affected by the termination of funding assistance due to welfare reform legislation.
The participating churches represented a small sample of faith groups located throughout the State. Based on the survey questions, providing food (and meals) for the hungry, clothing people in need, and monetary contributions are the prime socially-oriented services that these respondent groups are contributing to support their communities. About 25% also provided support services to the elderly, volunteer community service, furniture and other furnishings for low-income families and materials and supplies for social service providers.
BYU students are planning to continue surveying faith groups, expand
the outreach, and hopefully, bring groups together in the next semester
as part of Tollefsen's long-term commitment to the project. The
results will be published for distribution among agencies throughout
Jelani Madaraka is our new Lead Civil Rights Analyst for the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Program in the Hawaii State HUD Office. Jelani spent the last 7 years in the Southeast/Caribbean HUD office working most of that time in the Fair Housing Division, except for the last year where he concentrated on Labor Relations. Jelani is originally from Long Island, New York but also has strong family ties to the Caribbean Islands. Jelani first came to HUD as an intern while in law school. Prior to that he worked in the field of labor-management relations. Over the years, Jelani has worked with various local and state government agencies in New York and Georgia. Now that he is "finally" here in Hawaii, Jelani is extremely happy to help further fair housing and equal opportunity so that "all who are imprisoned by unlawful acts of discrimination can be freed." Please extend a warm welcome to Jelani Madaraka.
Conference - "Bridging Cultures for Intergenerational
Collaborations", State Capitol, Nominal fee.
Contact: Mae Mendelson at 261-7838
17 & 18, 2001
Design Workshop - "Fair Housing Accessibility Design
Workshop", 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., featuring guest speaker
Mark Mazz, an accessibility design architect currently with
the Department of Justice. Workshop is for architects, planners,
Contact: Ramona Mullahey at 522-8185 ext. 249
12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 2001
Summits - 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. September 12 in Hilo, September
13 in Kona, September 18 on Maui, September 19 on Kauai, and
September 20 on Oahu. Nominal fee.
Contact: Mike Flores at 522-8185 ext. 246 or Lynn Lee at 522-8185 ext. 239
|October 18-19, 2001||Brownfield
Conference - "Brownfields Hawaii 2001", 8:15
a.m.-4:15 p.m., Hilton Hawaiian Village-Coral Ballroom. Topics
include brownfields liability, assessment/clean-up, emerging
brownfield developers, and financing reuse. Brownfields Site
Tour, October 19. Fee.
Contact: Nadia of DBEDT at 587-2778