Honolulu Field Office Newsletter
Winter 2000

Na Hana Ku Aloha
´┐ŻAchieving Through the Spirit of Aloha´┐Ż

Volume 3 Issue 1

Hawaii Receives Over $9 Million in HUD Grants

The University of Hawaii at Manoa was awarded an Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Institutions Assisting Communities (AN/NHIAC) Program grant of $333,280 to expand its role in addressing community development through its Center for Hawaiian Studies. The Center, in partnership with several community-based organizations and residents of Papakolea and Maunalaha Valley, plans to rehab the Papakolea Community Center, assist in the construction of a community center in Maunalaha Valley, as well as develop and expand recreational, educational, economic development and community visioning in these communities within a cultural context. This was the first year for the AN/NHIAC grant program.

Other recipients of HUD funding include:

Section 202 Elderly Housing Program -- Total: $4,899,100

  • HI Intergenerational Community Development Associates: $821,900 to build 5-units in Honokaa, Hawaii plus 5-year rental subsidy
  • Hale Mahaolu: $789,600 to build 5-units in Kaunakakai, Molokai plus 5-year rental subsidy
  • HI Intergenerational Community Development Associates: $3,287,600 to build 20 one-bedroom units w/community room in Waianae, Oahu plus 5-year rental subsidy

Section 811 Housing Assistance for Persons with Disabilities -- Total: $2,085,100

  • Mental Help Housing: $1,390,100 to acquire and renovate 2 homes for 10 adults with chronic mental illness in Kahului, Maui plus 5-year rental subsidy
  • Steadfast Housing Development Corporation: $695,000 to build a 5-unit group home in Kau, Hawaii for persons with chronic mental illness plus 5-year rental subsidy

Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP)- Establishing New Organizations Component -- Total: $399,252

  • Metro Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, Inc.: $399,252 to establish a new fair housing enforcement organization in conjunction with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii to provide fair housing education and enforcement services throughout the State

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA ) -- Total: $1,030,000

  • Gregory House Programs: $1,030,000 (see CPD update for details)

Housing Counseling -- Total: $10,566

  • Legal Aid Society of Hawaii: $10,.566 to provide counsel and advice to renters, homeowners, and homebuyers

Housing Vouchers - Mainstream Housing Opportunities Program to Persons with Disabilities -- Total: $595,817

  • Housing & Community Development Corporation of Hawaii: 75 vouchers funded in the amount of $595,817

Multi-family Housing Drug Elimination -- Total: $124,785

  • Kukui Gardens Corporation: $124,785 to provide drug prevention, intervention and education with follow-up programs in downtown Honolulu, Oahu

Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) - Resident Management Business Development Component -- Total: $100,000

  • Kahekili Terrace Resident Association: $100,000 to build capacity in self-management and business development in Wailuku, Maui

Technical Assistance -- Total: $10,000

  • Affordable Housing and Homeless Alliance: $10,000 for training assistance to help communities and grass-roots organizations to more effectively provide housing opportunities and services for the homeless statewide

Service Coordinator -- Total: $83,057

  • Hale Mahaolu II, Inc.: $83,057 to help seniors at the 41-unit Hale Mahaolu Ekolu
    to receive the support services needed for independent living


Section 8 Homeownership - A New Opportunity

A 1999 Statistical Abstract of the U.S. Bureau of Census had some disappointing information on homeownership in Hawaii. In a nation-wide comparison of homeownership, Hawaii’s percentage dropped between 1990 and 1999. In 1990, 55.5% of Hawaii families owned their own home. By 1999 the number had dropped to 51.8%. Hawaii tied with New York for the distinction of being dead last in the nation.

We are all aware of the many barriers to homeownership in Hawaii. But recent federal legislation has given us some new hope. On September 12, 2000, HUD finalized a new program to enable low-income families to acquire homes of their own by publishing a Final Rule on the Section 8 Homeownership Program in the Federal Register.

The final rule implements a homeownership option under Section 8(y). Under the new rule, a public housing agency may provide tenant-based assistance to an eligible family to allow them to purchases a dwelling unit to be occupied by the family. Locally, the HUD staff has gathered information on pilot programs offered in other states and provided the information to our housing agencies. The idea is to evaluate the experiences of these pilot agencies and enable Hawaii to design programs that work well here.

While the new program is innovative, it is also voluntary. A public housing authority must choose to participate by adopting administrative policies that:

  • Establish the number of homeownership options available
  • Establish local eligibility criteria
  • Set minimum income requirements
  • Set the amount of cash down payment or equity
  • Define financing requirements; and
  • Provide recapture provisions

Community Development Block Grants or other subsidized financing can be used together with the homeownership program to aid a housing authority's efforts to establish a program.

The program applies to tenant-based not project-based assistance. Assuming that homeownership options are available, a Section 8 recipient may chose whether to use its assistance for rent or homeownership. A family has the freedom of choice and the obligation to locate property that fits the family’s financial circumstances.

In addition, there must be a history of full-time employment, and a family must be a first time homebuyer (which is defined as not owing a home within the last three years). Families are not eligible for homeownership assistance if there has been a previous default on homeownership assistance. The maximum term of assistance is 15 years with a 20+ year mortgage. These requirements have some variations for the elderly and disabled.

Offering hope and opportunity is key to building a strong community. The tough economic conditions of the last decade when combined with our formidable cost of living have made homeownership almost impossible for some segments of our community. The Section 8 Homeownership program attempts to change that outlook and build optimism for families that might have otherwise given up on homeownership. HUD is looking forward to the establishment of this program in Hawaii.


New Use for Vouchers

Section 8 housing choice vouchers may be issued to eligible families living in assisted living facilities or group homes. Ineligible properties are nursing homes, board and care homes or other health care facilities where continual psychiatric, medical or nursing services are provided. The cost of meals and supportive services provided the tenant may not be included in the rent charged by landlord, and therefore, must be paid by the tenant of third party sources. The nonpayment of fees for services and meals is not grounds for termination of the Section 8 assistance. Public Housing Agencies (PHA) may refer to Notice PIH 2000-41 (HA) issued on September 1, 2000 for clarification.


Multifamily’s "New" Contract Administrator

On May 3, 1999, HUD issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to procure contract administration services for project-based Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contracts. HUD selected Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii (HCDCH) as the contract administrator for the State of Hawaii. Effective November 1, 2000, 31 contracts were transferred to HCDCH. Additional contracts will be transferred on a quarterly basis.

Michael Hee, Property Management Coordinator for HCDCH, conducted an informational meeting in November for the owners and management agents of the affected projects. The agenda included: Danilo Dadios, Contract Administration Oversight Monitor, San Francisco Multifamily HUB, who provided an overview of the contract administration process and Roy Hickman, Supervisory Project Manager, Honolulu Multifamily Program Center who outlined HUD’s responsibilities. HCDCH will conduct management and occupancy reviews, adjust contract rents, process HAP contract terminations or expirations, pay monthly vouchers from Section 8 owners, respond to health and safety issues, renew HAP contracts, follow up on the results of the Real Estate Assessment Center’s (REAC) physical inspections, and monitor deficiencies noted in tenant income matching initiatives.

Although considered "new" for this initiative, HCDCH has been the contract administrator for 6 other project-based Section 8 HAP contracts for nearly 20 years. If you have any questions, please contact Donna Ho, Susan Amaral, Cynthia Okubo, or Bradley Young of HCDCH’s Contract Administration Section at 832-5970.


CPD Update

HOPWA Grant

Gregory House Programs received HUD funding to continue the supportive housing programs operating under their 1997 Special Projects of National Significance award and allow for a continuum of services for persons with multiple diagnoses. This Hawaii nonprofit will use the $1,030,000 for housing programs for persons with HIV/AIDS who are living in the Honolulu metropolitan area under two components: 40 units of tenant-based rental assistance and operational costs for a 11-bed transitional housing facility. The transitional support will involve assessment and treatment services, case management, psychiatric services and physical health care as well as life skills, money management and other programs that promote independent living skills. For information contact: Michael Burnett, Executive Director,770 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 503, Honolulu, HI 96813 (808) 592-9022 or by email: Michael_Burnett@gregoryhouse.org.


Statewide Homeless Forum

HUD Community Builder, Mike Flores moderated the Homeless Forum held at the State Capitol on November 17, 2000. Sponsored by Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii, it was one of the many events taking place statewide to highlight Homeless Awareness Week, November 13-17, 2000.

The theme of the forum was "The Changing Dynamics of Homelessness". Participants representing government, service, and non-profit organizations heard a variety of speakers share their insights on the current status of homeless issues. A panel of homeless service providers from each island discussed the need for a coordinated continuum of services to adequately address the broad spectrum of homeless concerns.

Senator Suzanne Chun-Oakland and Representative Dennis Arakaki shared what they considered to be the challenges confronting the upcoming legislative session and suggested how best to present homeless issues to lawmakers. Kathy Hasegawa from the Affordable Housing and Homeless Alliance shared her views on private sector activity that will affect the homeless and homeless at risk. And, finally, forum participants were able to examine how government initiatives such as welfare reform, the State Hospital Consent Decree, and the current low-income housing stock will impact the homeless.

The first State Homeless Forum was held in November 1997 at the urging of members of the Legislative Housing Committees. The mandate was to develop a long-term strategy to address the needs of the homeless and the causes of their economic situation.

The 1997 Homeless Forum identified several areas and subsequent strategies to address the challenges posed to the entire state by homelessness. The second forum held in November 1998, refined and updated the strategy for achievable visions for the state in regard to the homeless. Some highlights of the strategy include:

Funding Vision

  • Improved coordination and integration of resources to effectively fund homeless programs.

Housing Vision

  • Housing is provided for the homeless.
  • Coordinated and accessible services for the homeless are available with maximum collaboration between agencies and service providers that effectively address homeless issues.
  • Accessible, statewide resource database links homeless people with services, identifies gap areas, and provides future direction.

Economic Development Vision

  • Employment opportunities at all levels match skills of the homeless bolstering self-sufficiency and self-reliance.
  • All individuals receive an education that will enable them to reach their highest potential to compete in the global market.
  • Establish partnerships to maximize resources to address the issues and concerns of the homeless population.

The forum provided an opportunity to revisit the state’s homeless strategies and engender a discussion on shaping a new agenda for the 21st century.


Best Practice Awardee Receives CHDO Scholarship

Ohana Ola O Kahumana, a recent "Best of the Best" top 100 HUD Best Practice winner, received a CHDO scholarship, through an agreement with HUD and the Center for Community Change, to attend the Neighborhood Reinvestment Training Institute conference in New Orleans, December 11-16, 2000. CHDO, which stands for Community and Housing Development Organization, is a nonprofit housing provider who can receive HOME funds from HUD for new construction, rehabilitation, acquisition to build housing and provide assistance to homebuyers. Ohana Ola is a 14-unit transitional housing program which focuses on ensuring the self-sufficiency and stability for the homeless families who reside at the facility.

The training will assist Ohana Ola in ongoing preparation for the anticipated expansion of their present facility of 14 units to 48 units in 2001. At the institute Roselyn Dias, Operation Supervisor for Ohana Ola, will receive training in Housing Management for Non-Profits provided by the Institute for Real Estate Management. Upon completion, Roselyn will be eligible for certification as an Accredited Residential Manager (ARM). Helen M. Kimball, Ohana Ola's Executive Director, will be attending the course on Asset Management for Board Members and Executive Directors sponsored by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Organizational Development Initiative.


First Hawaiian Bank presents the 2001 BIA Home Building and Remodeling Show

Stop by and visit the HUD booth at the 2001 Building Industry Association Home Building and Remodeling Show February 1 through 4 at the Neal Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. See the latest products for your home building and remodeling needs and sit in on some informational seminars being scheduled. Watch for details on special events planned throughout the weekend.


Holiday Thoughts

I am an employee working for the Department of Housing and Urban Development for a little over a year. I deal with the public, in person and on the phone. Some of the problems that I hear from the people make me feel sorry for them. I kind of wish that I had a space of my own to rent out. The prospective clients tell me of being homeless, situations in which they are about to become homeless, being on a government waiting list for years, being disabled or elderly or both, and of having to cope with not being financially and emotionally supported by their ex-partners.

Through it all, I try to listen to them and refer them to the right sources for assistance. But sometimes I feel powerless as I try to put myself in their shoes and think of what kind of assistance that I would get from the person on the other side. Sometimes it would be great to tell them to go to a certain address and they would receive assistance and housing.

I feel this way because I think I was a little more fortunate than them. When I faced homelessness because of being laid off or leaving a job I was still working another job part time. It felt humiliating to have to arrange with creditors to having to pay less per month or paying late. But although I couldn’t afford to pay the rent at the studio I was staying at, I was fortunate to find a place through Homeless Solutions for a period of two years until I could put my life back together. Then I got a diploma from Hawaii Business College after about a year.

So at this time of year, I think it is appropriate to remember our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than ourselves. When we sit down at dinner and thank God that we have these blessings in the comfort of our own dwellings and not in a crowded shelter. When we get medical care, we don’t have to sign in and wait forever to be seen, we can call our personal physician who we feel comfortable with. When we wake up in the morning, it is in our own bed and not some cot in a crowded shelter.

-- Anonymous


We wish a joyous holiday season to all our friends and partners who have helped to make our communities a better place to live. We thank you and look forward to continue working with all of you in the new year.

We appreciate any comments or input you have about our quarterly newsletter, Na Hana Ku Aloha. You may send your comments and input on information you would like covered in this newsletter by sending an e-mail to Ramona Mullahey (ramona_mullahey@hud.gov). If you have a new address, please e-mail that information to Ramona or call her at 522-8185, ext. 249.


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