Nearly $1M in HUD funds earmarked for 4 virus relief projects

A Hawaii County Council committee voted in favor of allocating nearly a million dollars in federal funds to a quartet of COVID-19 recovery projects throughout the county.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Hawaii County Council Committee on Finance, the committee approved the receipt of $978,184 of funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development to manage the pandemic on the Big Island.

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County Housing Administrator Duane Hosaka said the funds are to be split among four projects.

The largest recipient of the funds will be the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island. The organization will receive $376,000 for “mobile youth outreach services,” which Hosaka said can include the distribution of laptops or Wi-Fi services to financially struggling families to assist with the challenges of learning from home.

Another $223,500 will be awarded to The Food Basket-Hawaii Island’s Food Bank to purchase new equipment for food distribution.

Another $110,000 will go to the nonprofit Project Vision Hawaii for the expansion of its mobile hygiene center program.

The fourth project will allocate $175,000 to improve the laundry facilities at the Na Kahua Hale O Ulu Wini transitional housing complex in Kailua-Kona, which Hosaka said does not have hot water and is much too small to adequately serve the more than 100 families who rely upon it.

The remaining funds will go toward administration fees.

Hosaka said HUD requires the county to spend all the funds within five years, but added he hopes the money will be spent within a year.

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The committee forwarded the bill to the full County Council with a favorable recommendation after minimal discussion.

Email Mike Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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