More Bills to Watch: Public Housing and Homelessness

One of the most intractable of problems, in a state where campaign contributions are dominated by the real estate and construction industries, is affordable housing.  State Representative Mark Hashem (D-O`ahu) who chairs the House Committee on Housing,  notes that 40 percent of the state’s homeless are working people who simply can’t afford housing–no surprise, he says, since  “In 2011, a study prepared for the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) 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”–a challenge, he says, that the state has been “woefully inadequate” in addressing.

But this year it’s been members of the State Senate who seem to be taking the lead on this issue, with Hashem often the sole introducer of House companion bills for the Senate Initiatives. At least 22 bills related to housing and homelessness  have been introduced, from routine funding authorizations to a bill, sponsored by Puna Sen. Russell Ruderman, that would make it easier to build housing for agricultural workers, to a measure co-sponsored by Big Island Senators Lorraine Inouye and Mark Nakashima, that would legalize, for the first time, trailer parks in the state. While some county measures, especially on O`ahu, have been criticized for criminalizing homelessness, the state bills generally emphasize promoting more affordable housing–although one make it easier for the state to confiscate property of public housing tenants, especially if they’re evicted for some reason.

By far the most active of Big Island legislators in this area is Sen. Josh Green, whose deep pockets from medical industry contributions may make him  less susceptible to pressure from the real estate industry.  Green has introduced or co-introduced no fewer than nine bills in this session’s “Joint Package of Bills to Address Affordable Housing and the Homeless.”

Below are the bills officially tagged as part of that package, along with Big Island legislators who’ve placed their names on the bills as introducers. To follow or testify on any of these bills, click on the underlined links.

 

Priority Bills

Bill Number

Description

SB120

Relating 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.

Big Island sponsor: Sen. Josh Green

SB477

Relating to Public Housing

Appropriates funds for the plans, design, construction, and equipment to develop, upgrade, or renovate public housing facilities in the State.

Big Island sponsor: Sen. Lorraine Inouye.

SB973

HB280

Relating to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority
Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates funds for the redevelopment, design, and construction of the Hawaii public housing authority administrative offices, the creation of public housing and affordable rental housing, and the development of a small commercial space at the Hawaii public housing authority’s North School street location.

Big Island sponsor: Sen. Josh Green

SB267

HB282

Relating to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority

Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds to the Hawaii 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.

Big Island sponsor: Sen. Josh Green

SB121

HB736

Relating to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority

Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates funds for the redevelopment, design, and construction of the Hawaii public housing authority’s Kuhio Homes and Kuhio Park Terrace low-rise properties.

Big Island sponsor: Sen. Josh Green

SB970

Relating 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.

No Big Island sponsors.

SB976

Relating 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 street, Honolulu, Oahu.

No Big Island sponsors.

SB392

HB454

(Women’s Caucus)

Relating to Housing

Amends income tax credit for low-income household renters to adjust for inflation. Applies to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2015.

Big Island sponsor: Sen. Lorraine Inouye; Reps. Cindy Evans, Joy SanBuenaventura, Nicole Lowen

SB122

HB345

Relating 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.

Big Island sponsor: Sen. Josh Green

SB969

HB764

Relating 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.

Big Island sponsor: Sen. Russell Ruderman

Other bills:

SB156/HB274Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds for the rental housing trust fund and new public housing redevelopment.

Big Island Sponsor: Sen. Josh Green

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.

Big Island sponsor: Sen. Lorraine Inouye

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.

No Big Island sponsors.

SB124/HB768 – Expands the Hawaii 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.

Big Island sponsors: Sens. Gil Kahele, Russell Ruderman

SB123/HB767 – Clarifies trespassing in the second degree at Hawaii Public Housing Authority housing projects as a nonresident who enters or remains unlawfully or without authorization on the property. The Hawaii Public Housing Authority is required to post signs notifying trespassers of illegal entry.

 Big Island sponsors: Sens. Josh Green, Gil Kahele, Russell Ruderman

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.

No Big Island sponsors

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.

No Big Island sponsors

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.

No Big Island sponsors.

SB155/HB766 – Making an appropriation for the construction of micro apartment housing units.

Big Island sponsor: Sen. Josh Green

HB765 – Appropriates funds to the department of human services to continue to administer housing first programs for chronically homeless individuals.

 No Big Island sponsors.

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.

Big Island sponsor: Sen. Lorraine Inouye, Rep. Mark Nakashima

SB1362 – Restricts the ability of the Hawaii housing finance and development corporation to use the rental assistance revolving fund for projects relating to affordable rental housing.

Big Island sponsors: Sens. Josh Green, Lorraine Inouye, Gil Kahele.

 

3 replies
  1. Sara Steiner
    Sara Steiner says:

    Yes the homeless in Pahoa could be using all thos cute little cabins Aunty Emily brought over sitting for years on church land.

  2. Michael Greenough
    Michael Greenough says:

    One glaring omission from your article that deserves inclusion is Senator Ruderman’s SB1014, referred to as the “Houseless Bill of Rights” – but is actually a bill that upholds existing rights for everyone and defines specific rights granted to a person who is houseless including equal access to housing, jobs, and shelters, equal treatment by government agencies, and access to life-sustaining activities and essential services.

    http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=1014

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