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HUD Assistant Secretary Liu Unveils Two New Programs to Provide Affordable Housing to Native Hawaiians
HONOLULU - Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Michael Liu today announced that HUD has developed two new programs that will help provide affordable housing to Native Hawaiians. Liu made his announcement on the grounds of Iolani Palace on the final day of his two-day trip to Hawaii to commemorate National Homeownership Month.
Liu said that some 49 percent of Native Hawaiians experience housing problems as compared to 44 percent for American Indian and Alaska Native households and 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.
"The Bush Administration and Secretary Martinez are committed to helping more families find affordable homes," Liu said. "Homeownership strengthens families, strengthens communities, and is critical to the nation's economic health. These two new programs, which are available immediately to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, 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 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.
Liu said 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:
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.
"Both of these programs separately and together will increase the homeownership opportunities for Native Hawaiians and will boost the number of lower-income Native Hawaiians who become homeowners," Liu said.
He added that it will take a cooperative effort of the entire housing and Native Hawaiian community to make sure the programs succeed as measured by the number of new homeowners, the number of older homes that are brought up to standard, and the number of Hawaiian Home Land communities that are vibrant and self-sustaining.
The Bush Administration is actively working to increase affordable housing through programs that include:
HUD is committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.
Content Archived: April 9, 2010