Bills Address Affordable Housing & Homeless

February 22, 2015, 9:37 AM HST · Updated February 22, 9:44 AM
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House Human Services Chair Dee Morikawa discusses legislative initiatives with task force Chairs Sen. Oakland and Rep. Hashem. Photo courtesy of House Majority Communications.

By Maui Now Staff

The impetus for a package of bills introduced by the joint Senate and House task force on housing and homelessness is the fact that in the Aloha State, the difference between being homeless and having a home can be a razor-thin line. Hawai‘i has a chronic housing shortage and a high cost of housing.

Among the bills in the housing package are measures to fund the Rental Housing Trust Fund, mixed income and mixed-used housing construction, incentives for landlords to provide affordable housing options, funds for Housing First and rental assistance funding.

“In 2011, a study prepared for the Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation noted that 50,000 new units will need to be built between 2012 and 2016 to meet the demand generated by changing demographics and economic conditions,” said Rep. Mark Hashem, chair of the House Committee on Housing.

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“Given the fact that we have been woefully inadequate in meeting that demand, it’s no surprise that 40 percent of all homeless are working persons who are unable to find affordable housing,” Hashem said. “We need to lessen that gap between supply and demand and, if it takes thinking outside the box such as looking at micro housing, then let’s do that.”

“In 2014, the new housing study indicates that there is now a shortage of 64,103 homes,” added Sen. Susie Chun Oakland, chair of the Senate Committee on Human Services and Housing. “We must aggressively look at the redevelopment of public and private lands to address this growing crisis, including housing opportunities along 19 of the 21 rail stops that have state and county lands.”

 2014 Housing & Homeless Legislative Package Priorities

Bill NumberDescription
SB120Relating to Affordable Housing
Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and the appropriation of funds for deposit into the rental housing trust fund and the dwelling unit revolving fund to finance affordable rental housing development and infrastructure development. Appropriates funds for the construction of micro apartment housing units. Appropriates funds to the department of human services to continue to administer housing first programs for chronically homeless.
SB477Relating to Public Housing
Appropriates funds for the plans, design, construction, and equipment to develop, upgrade, or renovate public housing facilities in the state.
SB973HB280Relating to the Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority
Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates funds for the redevelopment, design, and construction of the Hawai‘i public housing authority administrative offices, the creation of public housing and affordable rental housing, and the development of a small commercial space at the Hawai‘i public housing authority’s North School street location.
SB267HB282Relating to the Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority
Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds to the Hawai‘i public housing authority to leverage funds for the redevelopment of the Mayor Wright Homes property. Requires dollar-for-dollar matching with private or federal funds before appropriations shall be made available.
SB121HB736Relating to the Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority
Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates funds for the redevelopment, design, and construction of the Hawai‘i public housing authority’s Kuhio Homes and Kuhio Park Terrace low-rise properties.
SB970Relating to Rental Housing
Allows a portion of conveyance tax revenues dedicated to the rental housing trust fund to be monetized to increase the amount of funding for the rental housing trust fund. Authorizes the issuance of revenue bonds to finance the rental housing trust fund.
SB976Relating to Mixed-Use Residential Projects
Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and the appropriation of funds for the planning, design, and construction of the juvenile services center portion of the mixed-use project at 902 Alder St., Honolulu, O‘ahu.
SB392HB454Relating to Housing (Women’s Caucus)
Amends income tax credit for low-income household renters to adjust for inflation. Applies to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2015.
SB122HB345Relating to Taxation
Imposes a conveyance tax on the conveyance of a controlling interest of an entity that has an interest in real property in the State. Applies to conveyances occurring after 06/30/2015. Effective 07/01/2015.
SB969HB764Relating to Farm Worker Housing
Allows one or more employee dwellings to be built on an agricultural park lot or non-agricultural park lot that is leased by a long-term lessee with lease terms of at least thirty-five years and a lot size of at least five acres, with restrictions. Appropriates an unspecified amount from the general fund to be expended by the department of agriculture to develop farm worker housing.
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Others bills in the 2014 Housing & Homeless Legislative Package

SB156/HB274 Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds for the rental housing trust fund and new public housing redevelopment.
SB478 Establishes 30 permanent full-time equivalent multi-skilled worker civil service positions in the Hawaii public housing authority to assist and support public housing operations statewide.
SB972 Makes permanent the exemption from state civil service persons hired or contracted to repair and maintain vacant state housing units. Effective June 30, 2015.
SB124/HB768 Expands the Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority’s authority to dispose of property seized, abandoned or remaining upon eviction in and around federal, elder or elderly, or state low-income housing projects.
SB123/HB767 Clarifies trespassing in the second degree at Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority housing projects as a nonresident who enters or remains unlawfully or without authorization on the property. The Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority is required to post signs notifying trespassers of illegal entry.
SB971 Ensures that certain eligible housing projects will remain affordable for certain minimum periods in order to be certified for exemption from general excise taxes.
SB974 Authorizes the rental housing trust fund (RHTF) to be used for spaces for public uses within mixed-use residential developments in which the residential component consists of rental housing units. Establishes a separate mixed-use residential development subaccount within the RHTF to make loans or grants for the development, pre-development, construction, acquisition, preservation, and substantial rehabilitation of spaces for public uses within mixed-use residential developments in which the residential component consists of rental housing units. Clarifies that assistance from the RHTF may be made for new construction, rehabilitation, or preservation of spaces for public uses in mixed-use residential developments. Makes appropriation from general fund for deposit into the mixed use residential development account.
SB975 Adds a preference for rental housing trust fund project applicants that receive federal low-income housing tax credits. Takes effect on 1/1/2016.
SB155/HB766 Making an appropriation for the construction of micro apartment housing units.
HB765 Appropriates funds to the department of human services to continue to administer housing first programs for chronically homeless individuals.
SB763/HB1265 Requires and appropriates funds for the department of land and natural resources, in consultation with the department of human services, to establish mobile home parks throughout the State for individuals whose family income is no more than 250 per cent of the federal poverty level. Allows private sector to develop mobile home parks.
SB1362 Restricts the ability of the Hawai‘i housing finance and development corporation to use the rental assistance revolving fund for projects relating to affordable rental housing.

Access the Housing & Homeless Legislative Package online; click on “Reports and Lists” then “Measures by Package” and select “Housing and Homeless Legislative Package.”

To join the email list for the Housing & Homeless Task Force, email [email protected].

For more information,  contact:

Senate
Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland
(808) 586-6130

House of Representatives
Rep. Mark Hashem
(808) 586-6510

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