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Gov. Ige signs bills supporting more affordable housing, ʻOhana Zones

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Governor David Ige signed three bills into law on Friday that he said supports the state’s ongoing effort to build more affordable homes and provide families and individuals experiencing homelessness with the services they need.

Governor Ige signs bills supporting more affordable housing, ʻOhana Zones. PC: Office of the Governor

HB2512 (Act 235) will extend the ʻOhana Zone pilot program through June 30, 2026 and provide $15 million to fund services for this fiscal year. It will also provide for some exemptions of regulations that will allow the continuation of innovative projects that began under the COVID-19 emergency proclamations. Act 235 will also allow people who receive accommodations or services at the ʻOhana Zone site, to request a 90-day extension of those services.

“Since its inception in 2018, the ʻOhana Zone pilot program has served more than 5,500 individuals across the state, and we’ve added 400 more beds to shelter and housing inventory. This new law will enable us to continue our forward progress through partnerships with the counties and homeless service providers,” said Gov. Ige.

Gov. Ige also signed SB3048 (Act 236), which will allow the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation to transfer GO Bond proceeds from the Rental Housing Revolving Fund into the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund. According to Gov. Ige, this will enable the HHFDC to develop infrastructure improvement projects as it works to expand the state’s housing inventory. 

Act 236 also deposits $300 million into the Rental Housing Revolving Fund, half of which is set aside for the development of rental housing for working families and individuals who earn a moderate income. This could potentially finance up to 1700 units, according to the governor.

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“My administration met our initial goal of producing 10,000 affordable units by 2020, and exceeded that by 3,500 additional units. Many more are needed, and this funding will keep the momentum going,” said Gov. Ige.

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And finally, Gov. Ige signed HB2233 (Act 237), which gives the Department of Human Services the authority to provide a housing assistance subsidy of up to $500 per month to participants in the first-to-work program.

“This bill will help prevent currently housed people from falling into homelessness. Together, these bills represent a significant investment in our communities and ensure that we are able to meet the needs of families and individuals across the state,” said Gov. Ige.

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