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Plan calls for 6 low-income housing projects to begin this year

  • KUNZ

The county will spend nearly $6 million in federal funds on six low-income housing projects this year, according to an action plan presented to a County Council committee.

During Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting, County Housing Administrator Susan Kunz presented the action plan for the second year of the county’s Five-Year Consolidated Plan, which lists the projects the county intends to complete using funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development between 2020 and 2024.

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In 2021, Kunz said, the county has six projects it will initiate using funding from three HUD programs: Community Development Block Grant program, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and the Housing Trust Fund.

Each program will allocate a little more than $2.5 million to the county, the majority of which must be appropriated by the end of the year.

According to the 60-page action plan, the six projects to be pursued this year include:

— Repairs to the wastewater treatment plant at the Ulu Wini low-income housing development in Kailua-Kona. With $1,420,889 in CDBG funds, the project will repair and replace equipment at the on-site wastewater treatment plant deemed insufficiently safe by the state Department of Health. The project is expected to be completed by the end of June 2022.

— A renovation of the Ulu Wini development’s kitchen, allowing it to meet DOH standards. The project will cost $495,500 in CDBG funds, and has a targeted completion date of June 30, 2022. The two Ulu Wini projects serve 91 units and about 380 people within the development.

— Interior and exterior renovations at the Hale Ohana Domestic Abuse Shelter in Hilo. This project costs $225,760 in CDBG funds and includes replacements to flooring and appliances, a playground area, interior and exterior painting and more. It has a target date of June 30, 2022.

— Interior and exterior renovations for the West Hawaii Domestic Abuse Shelter in Keauhou. This project will cost $157,225 in CDBG funds, and will entail similar work to the Hale Ohana project, although it also will involve plumbing repairs and additional security and safety features. This project has a target date of June 30, 2022.

— $2.3 million from the Housing Trust Fund for the development of 92 affordable rental units for seniors and veterans on West Kawili Street in Hilo. The project has a target date of Dec. 31, 2023.

— $689,000 from HOME and the Housing Trust Fund to convert a vacant single-family property in the University Heights subdivision in Kailua-Kona into a three-unit rental property for extremely low-income elderly or special needs tenants. This project has a target date of Dec. 31, 2022.

Kunz said the county also will spend $500,000 in CDBG funds, and $150,000 in Housing Trust Funds, on administrative costs, including paying the salaries of several full- and part-time county employees.

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Members of the Finance Committee voted unanimously to forward the plan to the full council with minimal discussion.

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

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