Gov sees rental progress

A meeting addresses avenues
to provide subsidized housing
to low-income families

Gov. Linda Lingle said yesterday her initiative to fast-track the construction of 17,000 subsidized rental housing units on state land in urban areas over the next five years got off to a "great start" with the first meeting of developers, bankers and social workers.

During their initial meeting Monday evening, the participants assigned a team to come back in two weeks with ideas on creating a one-stop shop for people wanting to develop subsidized housing, she said.

"Instead of them having to come in and figure out what are all the different tax credits available, what's the process and what sort of exemptions they could get, they go to this one place and they would help them through the process," said Lingle.

Besides providing rentals for lower-income working families in the face of soaring house prices and rents, the program unveiled by the Lingle administration last week also aims to curb the growing problem of homelessness in the islands.

The governor said the "new national model" uses no more than 20 percent of the units in an "affordable" project for the chronically homeless and has social and health case workers available to deal with their problems.

The Bush administration has established a new "housing first" concept for federally funded programs for the chronically homeless, she said.

"You have to get them permanent housing first," Lingle said. "That's the change in the concept," instead of seeking out the homeless to provide services where they are located.

"If you get people stabilized by giving them clean, safe, decent housing, then they can work on their addiction or then they can deal with their mental illness," she said.

Veteran social worker Carol Ignacio, executive director of the Office of Social Ministry for the Catholic Diocese in Hawaii, echoed Lingle's comments and said she was impressed by what she felt was the sincere good will and commitment on the part of the developers.

"What you got from them at the meeting was: Hey, everybody's doing well now and we need to take some social responsibility," she said in a telephone interview from Hilo.

Ignacio said it was a revelation from the usual image the community has about big developers.

"What's different is that in the past when we've had these initiatives, the developers expected to make money off of it," she said. "This is not the case. This is the developers giving back to the community and that's exciting. They don't have to do this."

Ignacio said the providers plan to meet tomorrow to come up with specifics the developers requested about what kind of units are needed for the various categories in the homeless population.

Office of the Governor


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --