Hawaii House and Senate conferees agree on a measure that calls for having some apartments ready as early as January.
“With 7,000 folks living on our streets, this is not the time to be terribly budget conscious,” said one of the advocates pushing for House support.
His Department of Budget and Finance is recommending a budget request of about $31 million — six times what the governor sought last year, but far less than the total cost of fixing the state’s aging public housing stock.
Currently an eviction results in a lifetime ban, but the state Housing Authority is considering changing its rules for those who fell behind on rent.
Resolutions also urged tougher enforcement of the sidewalk-nuisance law, an audit of the Section 8 rental-subsidies and faster roll-out of Housing First.
The Hawaii Public Housing Authority has been working with the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting to come up with ways to process permits more quickly.
While some state-run apartment complexes look good from the front, there may be vacant units in back awaiting major maintenance work.
A lack of funds hampers the effort, and even after contracts are awarded, a slow permit process can delay the work. Federal regulations make shortcuts difficult, but Housing Authority officials are looking for solutions.
Why Are 175 Public Housing Units Sitting Vacant While Honolulu Struggles to Find Housing for the Homeless?
The Hawaii Public Housing Authority was severely shortchanged by the governor and the Legislature for money to repair vacant units. Unions also blocked continuation of a civil service exemption for maintenance crews, a program that was helping reduce the backlog.
But with a $275 million backlog, attorneys worry that the state is reverting back to under-funding public housing repairs.
The alleged beatings include one where a security guard grabbed someone by the hair and threw him into a closed door for riding his bike.
Gov. David Ige cut funding to repair aging public housing to $5 million despite a 10-year backlog exceeding $820 million.