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Grants fund rental help, housing

LIHU‘E — Several anticipated grants will fuel more emergency rental assistance, affordable housing units and other community projects on Kaua‘i.

County Housing Agency Director Adam Roversi reviewed the slate of programs, and the monies financing them, at last week’s County Council meeting.

First up was about $2.26 million in federal funding for the county’s Coronavirus Rental and Utility Assistance program, which launched last spring.

The newly approved financing, dubbed ERA2, was granted by the state through a subaward.

“As of March of this year, we have expended all of the ERA1 program funds, distributing approximately $20 million in rent and utility assistance,” Roversi said.

That $20 million was split among some 1,660 households economically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, per a county memo.

Down the road, Kaua‘i should expect to receive more than $2.26 million in ERA2 funding. It’s just a question of how much.

Future funding allocated to each state will depend on each state’s ability to spend down the funds by various timelines, according to Roversi.

“And we haven’t even actually been provided with what those timelines are, very clearly, from the federal government,” he continued.

The county must expend its ERA2 funding by September 2025.

The CHA has also received a $712,633 Community Development Block Grant and a $2.4 million HOME Grant. Both allocations come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Kaua‘i receives about $700,000 in CDBG monies annually. This year, the CHA plans to spend its allotment on four projects across the county:

• A $157,747 disaster-preparedness project at the YWCA of Kaua‘i’s family domestic violence shelter;

• A photovoltaic (solar-powered) system with battery storage to be installed on-site to ensure services are uninterrupted, including in times of natural disaster, according to a council resolution;

• $159,170 will go toward Americans with Disabilities Act-related improvements at the Hale Ho‘omalu Family Center in Kapa‘a, and $213,214 will go toward ADA improvements at Waimea Athletic Field;

• $40,000 will go to the nonprofit Project Vision Hawai‘i’s local HieHie program.

“They provide a mobile shower trailer, along with eye exams and some other services, primarily to the homeless population, at various sites around the island,” Roversi explained.

The remaining $142,532 in CDBG monies will cover CHA administrative costs.

Lima Ola

Kaua‘i County receives a federal HOME Grant every three years. This year’s $2.4 million allocation, when paired with other funds, will pay for two projects at the Lima Ola Workforce Housing Development in ‘Ele‘ele.

“(These are) a 45-unit affordable housing rental project and, across the street, a 40-unit senior housing rental project,” Roversi told councilmembers. “We hope to break ground on or around October.”

$1.85 million in 2022 HOME monies will go toward construction of the 45 multi-family rentals. They will be offered to tenants at or below 80% of the Kaua‘i median area income ($81,550 for a household of four).

The one-bedroom senior housing units are for tenants whose income is at or below 60% of the Kaua‘i median area income ($49,000 for a household of two). The units will receive $400,000 in HOME monies, while the remaining $150,000 will cover CHA administrative costs.

The CHA estimates both projects will be complete one year after groundbreaking, in autumn 2023.

Lima Ola’s phase one will also include 38 single-family homes and a 26-unit supportive housing project.

“Altogether, I think it comes out to 155 units,” Roversi said.

Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro expressed excitement for the plan.

“It’s probably going to be one of the biggest development projects on the Westside in a long time,” Kaneshiro said, following the housing director’s presentation. “And all of it is going to be affordable.”

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Scott Yunker, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or syunker@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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