By Rowena Akana
Source: Ka Wai Ola o OHA
The month of June was declared Home Ownership Month. Many hands working together create great things and great things are happening for our Hawaiian community in housing. I’m excited to announce that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has appropriated $10 million for housing to be used by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for homesteaders. This program, coupled with OHA’s FANNIE MAE Loan Program, makes it a great day for Hawaiian housing.
The OHA Homeownereship Program provides up to $135 million in financing for Hawaiians and informational workshops. Congratulations to the 1,800 excited people statewide who have signed up for the workshops.
In a news conference held on June 13 at ‘Iolani Palace, Hawai’i’s own Mike Liu, now assistant secretary for Public and Indian Housing, assured that the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands would be receiving $9,600,000 in block grants from HUD for housing.
The housing block grant is an extremely valuable and versatile tool as it can be used for a variety of creative activities to meet the individual needs of Native Hawaiians. The funds can be used for the construction or reconstruction of afforable housing, down payment and closing costs assistance, direct lending or interest subsidies, housing counseling, payments to prevent foreclosures on homes, tenant-based rental assistanace, safety and security activity, and much more.
The Section 184A Loan Guarantees for Native Hawaiian Housing Program will provide 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 locatd on Hawaiian Home Lands. With the greater flexibility of this new Federally-backed loan guarantee program, Hawaiian Home Lands lessees will be able to tap a variety of mortgage financing programs that up to now have not been possible under the FHA Section 247 program. The Federal loan guarantee is expected to leverage up to $40 million in mortgage funds.
It is anticipated that the U.S. Senate bill that helped to create the language that included the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands will be amended this year to include OHA as a second Hawaiian Housing Agent. This would allow OHA to match federal funds to create more funding and housing opportunities for all Hawiians.
Also important to note is that in January of this year, OHA partnered with Quality Homes — headed by Kali Watson, to produce steel constructed homes at a cost of under $60,000 per home, making it possible for anyone with a lot to put a home on it at a very affordable price.
On a survey done three years ago by OHA, Hawaiians were asked to list by priority what was most important to them. Housing was one of the five top listed as most important. I ask for your continued support as we move forward and encourage your comments. MALAMA PONO!