|HUD No. 00-353|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Saturday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||December 30, 2000|
Storefront provides consumers with one-stop shopping for information about HUD
CUOMO OPENS FIRST CONSUMER INFORMATION CENTER IN HONOLULU
HONOLULU - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Representative Neil Abercrombie, Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris and other local dignitaries today opened the first walk-in HUD consumer information center in Hawaii.
Called a HUD Storefront, the center is part of a network of highly visible, easily accessible information offices located in retail centers nationwide. Individuals, organizations, businesses and local governments can go and talk with HUD employees about HUD programs, about buying, renting and rehabilitating homes, filing housing complaints or obtaining loans. The information center also provides technical assistance on starting businesses, creating jobs and revitalizing communities. The Honolulu Storefront is HUD's 15th."We are opening a HUD Storefront in Honolulu as part of our commitment to better customer service and to be a good neighbor," Cuomo said. "Unlike HUD employees in other local offices who have many administrative duties to perform, the primary job of HUD Storefront employees is to meet with the public and provide helpful information. Under one roof we've put all the tools and information that any consumer will need." "The HUD Storefront in Honolulu is yet another example of how the Clinton Administration has made the federal government more accessible and helpful to the public it serves. I applaud Secretary Cuomo and HUD for opening this important information resource for the people of Hawaii," Abercrombie said."I'm excited because this wonderful HUD center will grow and strengthen our communities by helping people find homes and start businesses," Harris said.The new HUD Storefront is located at Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 3A. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The telephone number is 808-522-8175.The center will serve all of Hawaii, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Guam, and the Republic of Palau.Cuomo said that Community 2020*, HUD's computer mapping software, will also be available in the Honolulu Storefront. The software provides information about HUD grant programs including location, purpose and dollar amounts, and information about sites potentially dangerous to the environment. The Storefront is also outfitted with computers and the latest in satellite telecommunications equipment. And for people who need information when the Storefront is closed, a "touch screen" kiosk, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is located immediately outside the facility.Storefronts are but one component of the HUD Next Door initiative, which was a 2000 semifinalist for Innovations in American Government Awards, sponsored by the Ford Foundation and Harvard University in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government. The other initiative components are the "touch screen" kiosks and the HUD Answer Machines, which are computers dedicated to HUD information.Cuomo added that HUD encourages public organizations and groups to use the Honolulu HUD Storefront to hold small meetings, view satellite-training presentations, and log onto HUD's homepage. In addition, school and community groups are invited to the office to hear presentations on how HUD programs can benefit people in their neighborhoods.Reverend David Kaupu from Kamehameha Schools performed a traditional island blessing to ensure a safe and healthy work environment and continued excellent service to the public. He also stretched a maile lei across the front door. After the blessing, Cuomo and other dignitaries untied the lei and toured the facility.In his remarks Cuomo noted that on December 23, President Clinton announced nearly $5 million in HUD aid for homeless people in Hawaii. The money will provide the homeless with both shelter and key support services such as medical care so they can attempt to move off the streets and live independently. The grants will also cover a portion of shelters' operating expenses. In addition, Cuomo announced that HUD's Federal Housing Administration has just increased its loan limits for Honolulu to $284,810 -- a move that will enable more residents to become homeowners.HUD funding to Hawaii will total nearly $150 million in fiscal year 2001. The lion's share of the funding -- almost $82 million -- will be in the form of Section 8 housing assistance vouchers for an estimated 16,200 apartments. These vouchers provide families with help in paying the rent, or thanks to legislation recently signed by President Clinton, may be used to help buy homes.More than $21 million of the year's funding is in the form of community development block grants, which state and local governments use to create nearly 700 permanent jobs and assist some 800 households in meeting their housing needs. The elderly, frail seniors and people with AIDS will receive more than $9 million in housing assistance, while another $21 million will go to help maintain -- or revitalize -- nearly 6,000 public housing apartments.
From H-1 West, take Punchbowl exit, turn left on Pohukaina St., turn right into Restaurant Row parking garage. From Ala Moana Boulevard East, turn right on South Street, turn left on Pohukaina St., turn left into Restaurant Row parking garage.
On-street parking is also available.