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$600 million in funding to target Hawaiian homes waiting list becomes law

The Maui News

Gov. David Ige signed a bill on Monday that sets aside $600 million in funding for the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, part of a historic package of funding passed by the state Legislature earlier this year.

“Today marks an unprecedented moment in our state’s history,” Ige said in a statement on Monday. “I am very pleased that the Hawaii State Legislature approved this bill and forwarded it to me for my signature.”

Ige recalled last year’s celebration of the centennial signing of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and how leaders agreed that “while much has been accomplished, much more was needed.”

“Today, with the signing of HB2511, we are providing a one-time allocation of $600 million to address the housing needs of native Hawaiians,” Ige said. “With housing cost at an all-time high, this funding will allow DHHL to develop new housing units and expand on resource services for beneficiaries in various circumstances.”

Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairperson William Aila Jr. said the signing of House Bill 2511, now known as Act 279, described the measure as “the most consequential allocation of funding for the implementation of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act in its 100-year history.”

“Sufficient funding to develop the raw landholdings of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust has been elusive for decades,” Aila said. “Today’s signing marks a turning of the page from this dark past to a brighter future for native Hawaiians.”

Aila said the measure will allow DHHL to expedite construction of thousands of new homestead lots and housing units throughout the state.

“DHHL will also leverage its federal funding and trust assets to expand housing services to beneficiaries including down-payment assistance, rental subsidies and expanded financial literacy education,” Aila said.

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