Feds release $9.6 million
for Hawaiian homes

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is getting an additional $9.6 million from the federal government for home ownership programs for native Hawaiians.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act. The 1996 law was amended in 2000 to include native Hawaiians.

Hawaiian Homes received a similar grant in 2002 for affordable housing, including its Maluohai development in Kapolei.

HUD Assistant Secretary Mike Liu said the new allocation is for native Hawaiians whose earnings fall under 80 percent of the median income.

"I am pleased with the progress DHHL has made in effectively using this federal program to meet the housing needs of the native Hawaiian community," said Liu, a former Hawaii legislator, in an announcement yesterday in Kapolei.

The announcement of the new funding comes at a time when native Hawaiian programs are being challenged in federal court on constitutional grounds that they are illegally race-based.

The continued funding of the native Hawaiian housing program "indicates the progress Gov. Linda Lingle and her administration have made in communicating with the Department of Justice and the White House," according to a statement from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

On Thursday, Lingle announced that the U.S. Department of Education had resumed the process to distribute about $31 million in federal grants for education programs under the Native Hawaiian Education Act. Those funds had been held up because of concerns over the legality of native Hawaiian programs.


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