Honolulu Field Office Newsletter
Na Hana Ku Aloha
�Achieving Through the Spirit of Aloha�
Volume 5 Issue 3
Congratulations to Hawaii's First Section 8 Homeowner
June was National Homeownership Month. National Homeownership Month is intended to expand homeownership opportunities to more Americans, particularly minorities. On the first day of a two-day (June 13-14, 2003) trip to Hawaii to commemorate the occasion, Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Michael Liu joined Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste to present keys to a home to Hawaii's first Section 8 homeowner. For Tony Coronel and his family, these keys represented a dream come true.
Homeownership seemed beyond his reach, until Tony Coronel began receiving Section 8 assistance and volunteered to enroll in the Section 8 Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program administered by the County of Kauai Housing Agency. In four short years, the Coronels went from being on welfare to owning their home. The home that the Coronel family had occupied since March of this year on a rent-to-own program offered by the County of Kauai is now their own, made possible through the HUD Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. After years of using the HUD Section 8 assistance to pay rent, they are now using the assistance to make mortgage payments. Coronel is the first Section 8 recipient in Hawaii to use the Section 8 assistance to buy a home.
"The Bush Administration and Secretary Mel Martinez are committed to helping families like the Coronels become homeowners," Liu said at the ceremony marking this special occasion. "Homeownership strengthens families, strengthens communities, and is critical to the nation's economic health. The Coronels's story is a remarkable one that should be an inspiration to others wanting to become homeowners."
The Coronels were enrolled in the Kauai Housing Agency's homebuyer education program that included an opportunity for FSS participants to join the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle's Home$tart Plus program. Under Home$tart Plus, FSS participants are eligible to receive a two to one match for funds saved in the escrow account up to $10,000. The Coronels were able to earn the full matching grant.
When the County of Kauai acquired a property in Ele`ele through the buy-back clause in its affordable housing program, the Coronels were offered the opportunity to rent the home in March 2003 under the County's rent to own program. The home was offered for sale for $206,000. By April 2003, the Coronels had accumulated over $22,000 in escrow through the FSS program and earned the $10,000 from the Home$tart Plus program. With a mortgage loan from Bank of Hawaii, the participating lender with the Federal Home Loan Bank and administrator of the Home$tart Plus program, and the application of the Section 8 assistance towards homeownership, the pieces in the puzzle finally came together for the Coronels to buy their home.
Assistant Secretary Liu Announces $9.6 Million Grant to DHHL
On June 14, Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Michael Liu attended an event at the Villages of Kapolei to recognize 33 families who are receiving assistance under the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program to become homeowners. Grant funds in the amount of $564,000 are being leveraged against a total project cost of $2.3 million to construct the homes, all of which are under the "self-help" development method whereby low-income native Hawaiians receive credit towards the purchase price of their houses through sweat equity contributions. It is estimated that homebuyers will realize a savings of at least 40 percent through this program.
"I am pleased with the progress the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has made in effectively using this program to meet the housing needs of the native Hawaiian community," Liu said. "These efforts promote the goals of self-sufficiency and help families achieve the dream of homeownership. Micah Kane has demonstrated an ability to meet these challenges early in his tenure as chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission and I am confident the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program will enjoy continued success."
During his visit to Kapolei, Mr. Liu announced the following:
Last year, President Bush announced a goal to create 5.5 million new homeowners by the year 2010, and issued "America's Homeownership Challenge," a call to the real estate and mortgage finance industries to work in partnership to help achieve this goal. The Blueprint for the American Dream Partnership, created last year by HUD Secretary Mel Martinez in response to President Bush's call, is a coalition involving many segments of the housing industry.
The Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program is an important part of this strategy since it enables the native Hawaiian people, whose housing needs have long been underserved, to realize the dream of homeownership.
2003 Community Homebuyer Fairs
Communities across Oahu learned first-hand about the home buying process through a series of free community homebuyer fairs conducted between June 14 and July 12. The final homebuyer fair for 2003 will take place on September 13 at the Paukukalo Community Center in Waiehu, Maui. This is the third year for this annual homeownership event, which is normally held in June to commemorate National Homeownership Month.
These homebuyer fairs are designed to bring information to the community in a familiar setting where people feel comfortable talking with professionals from the housing industry and accessing information all in one place. Fair participants are introduced to the various programs and services local organizations and government agencies offer to help people attain the American Dream of homeownership.
Representatives from 16 different housing organizations were on hand at each fair to provide information and answer questions from potential first-time homebuyers. Lenders assisted with mortgage pre-qualification, 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 assortment 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 table. Children and youth had a wonderful time expressing their creativity in drawing and coloring their dream home.
The Community Homebuyer Fairs have been successful thanks to all of the participating organizations and sponsors. The Fairs have been made possible due to the collaborative efforts and support of the following partners: Alu Like, Catholic Charities Hawaii, City and County of Honolulu, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, The Filipino Community Center, Hawaii Association of Mortgage Brokers, Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, Hawaiian Community Assets, Honolulu Board of Realtors, Honolulu Habitat for Humanity, Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Mortgage Bankers Association of Hawaii, Nanakuli Housing Corporation, PEMCO, Ltd., Self-Help Housing Corporation of Hawaii, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Waimanalo Community Development Corporation of Hawaii, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
We would like to explore the possibility of conducting future Community Homebuyer Fairs on other neighbor islands. If you are interested in helping to sponsor and coordinate a Community Homebuyer Fair on a neighbor island, please contact Claudine Allen in the Honolulu HUD Office at 522-8175 x223 at email@example.com.
Promoting HUD's FHA Program
On May 7, HUD Housing Program Specialist, Gayle Ota, staffed a booth at the 47th Annual Excellence in Federal Government Awards Luncheon at the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel. Hawaii's top civilian and military Federal workers were recognized at this event. HUD and 22 other Federal agencies were exhibitors at this annual function sponsored by the Honolulu-Pacific Federal Executive Board. This event has always been an excellent tool in promoting HUD's single-family mortgage insurance programs.
On May 22, Gayle Ota was a guest speaker at the Hawaii Association of Mortgage Brokers (HAMB) Conference 2003 at the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel. Her presentation covered updates on FHA programs, policies and guidelines that occurred within the last year. This year's conference, titled "Making the Difference", focused on education, information and the latest in technology. Participants included HAMB's industry partners, sponsors, exhibitors and over 300 attendees.
Grants Writing Workshops
To help build capacity and promote successful federal grants writing, HUD staff partnered with the University of Hawaii, College of Education to present an all-day grants writing workshop. Robin Brandt of the Minority Capacity Building Project provided a how to begin basics including needs assessment and the 1-2-3s of grant budgets. HUD staff has also made several presentations to community groups on the tips and techniques for assembling a federal grant package. This endeavor is part of a comprehensive outreach strategy to bolster federal funding in Hawaii.
Kudos to Partners in Care
Partners in Care (PIC), an organization addressing the gaps in Oahu's homeless continuum of services and programs, recently received an award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Certificate of Merit for 2003 recognized the group's outstanding leadership in the community via its outreach efforts to the homeless population on Oahu.
PIC serves as a coordinating body comprised of homeless service providers, government, community groups, and others committed to assisting the homeless that develops recommendations to identify and fill gaps in Continuum of Care on Oahu and provides direction in response to HUD's Continuum of Care annual competition for homeless assistance funds.
Welcome to Jun Chung
Jun Chung is the newest addition to Honolulu's Public & Indian Housing Program staff. Jun is a Public Housing Revitalization Specialist and will address Public Housing's programmatic issues. Prior to joining HUD, Jun was the grants management specialist at the National Institutes of Health Cancer Institute. Jun is a native of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and is an avid golfer and licensed scuba diver.
Public Housing and Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
Thousands of families in Hawaii, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) enjoy decent, safe and affordable housing thanks to two of HUD's long-running housing programs intended to serve low-income families.
The Low-Income Public Housing Program, Public Housing for short, is available in Hawaii on the islands of Oahu, Hawaii, Kauai, Maui and Molokai. Nearly 5,300 families live in 65 housing developments in Hawaii. The housing developments are owned and operated by the Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii (HCDCH), a State of Hawaii agency. The HCDCH was formed in 1997 to combine the Hawaii Housing Authority, the Housing Finance and Development Corporation, and the Rental Housing Trust Fund under one agency.
The Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA) administers the public housing program on Guam. GHURA serves 750 families in nine housing developments. Under the public housing programs, families are provided affordable housing where they typically pay 30% of their income for rent. HUD provides HCDCH and GHURA with operating and capital funds to help cover operating costs and to make capital improvements.
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program takes advantage of the housing available in the private market. Eligible families are issued a voucher that enables them to find their own unit provided that the rent for the unit is reasonable and the unit meets Housing Quality Standards. Both HCDCH and GHURA are also Section 8 Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) along with the City and County of Honolulu, the County of Hawaii, County of Maui, the County of Kauai, and the Northern Marianas Housing Corporation (NMHC) in CNMI.
Under the Section 8 voucher program, an eligible family typically pays 30% of their income as their portion of the rent. HUD, through the local Public Housing Agencies, subsidizes the difference between the families' portion and the reasonable rent for the unit. Over 12,000 families receive Section 8 voucher assistance in Hawaii, over 2,500 families receive assistance on Guam, and 715 families receive assistance in CNMI. The total dollar amount of Section 8 voucher assistance is over $80 million annually for our entire jurisdiction.
Information on the public housing programs may be obtained by calling your local public housing agency or HUD at (808) 522-8175 or visit the HUD website.
The Honolulu Office of Public Housing
Congratulations to Michael Flores. Michael Flores is the new Director of the Honolulu Public Housing Hub. He was selected to the position on a permanent basis on June 15, 2003. From the end of January through the end of May, he was the Acting Director of the Office of Public Housing. Mike previously held the positions of Community Builder, Director of Multifamily Housing, Director of Housing Management, Deputy Manager, and Director of Housing in the Honolulu Office over his long career with HUD.
Beginning June 1, 2003, the Honolulu Office of Public Housing took over the responsibility for overseeing the Low-Income Public Housing and Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Programs in Hawaii, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. These programs had been under the watchful eye of the HUD public housing office in San Francisco for the past seven years.
The first two employees of the Honolulu Hub of the Office of Public
Housing, Darlene Kaholokula, Program Assistant, and Jane Adaniya,
Financial Analyst, were selected to their positions on October 6,
2002. Prior to their selections, Darlene was a Program Assistant
and Jane was a Project Manager in the Multifamily Housing Program
Center of the Honolulu Office. William Sabalburo, Facilities Management
Engineer, started with the Honolulu Office on November 3, 2002.
Prior to joining the Honolulu Office, he was with the Minnesota
Office of HUD. Jun Chung, Public Housing Revitalization Specialist
joined HUD on February 23, 2003 from the National Institute of Health. He worked out of the HUD Washington DC Office until the end of May 2003 when he relocated to the Honolulu Office.
The Office of Public Housing staff is eager to serve the people of Hawaii, Guam and CNMI and look forward to providing much technical assistance and outreach in addition to monitoring the HUD programs.
Bill Sabalburo has been assigned the lead responsibility for the Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii (HCDCH) and the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority (GHURA) for both public housing and Section 8 vouchers in addition to his duties administering the capital fund and monitoring the physical condition of the public housing units.
Jun Chung has been assigned the lead responsibility for the Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) that administer the Section 8 program only in addition to his generalist duties for HCDCH and GHURA.
Jane Adaniya is the Financial Analyst for all the public housing and Section 8 programs and is the Rental Housing Integrity Improvement Project coordinator and the lead reviewer on the Rental Integrity Monitoring (RIM) reviews.
Darlene Kaholokula is the Program Assistant servicing all of the programs and staff. She is also the Public and Indian Housing Information Center (PIC) coach and a member of the RIM review team.
You may contact the Office of Public Housing staff by phone or e-mail:
Michael Flores (firstname.lastname@example.org) (808) 522-8175 ext. 226
William (Bill) Sabalburo (email@example.com) (808) 522-8175 ext. 238
Jane Adaniya (firstname.lastname@example.org) (808) 522-8175 ext. 245
Jun Chung (email@example.com) (808) 522-8175 ext. 260
Darlene Kaholokula (darlene_l._Kaholokula@hud.gov) (808) 522-8175 ext. 240
Calendar of Events
August 21-22, 2003, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Homeless and Economic Development Workshop. Presented by AIDS Housing of Washington. The workshop will focus on how to link the homeless to jobs by providing tools for homeless providers to identify and work with potential employers. For information and to register, contact: Derrick Stephens at 522-8180 ext. 261.
August 26, 2003, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Workshop for FHA Lenders, HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agencies, and Homebuyer Educators. Topics will include: Predatory Lending, Money-Smart Curriculum, Housing Counseling, Loss Mitigation, and Fair Housing. For more information and to register, contact: Gayle Ota at 522 8190 ext. 228 or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)