(BIVN) – Federal officials on Friday confirmed for the Hawaiʻi County Council that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, will not be funding any housing projects in Lava Zone 1 and 2.
Councilmembers held a Hawaiʻi County Housing Agency meeting in the Hilo Council Chambers to get an overview on the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) from HUD officials, with focus on the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption.
Hawaiʻi County is currently awaiting what is likely to be tens of millions in CDBG-DR funds to help with the recovery effort.
“HUD does have a lava flow policy,” said Mark Chandler, the Community Planning Development Director for the HUD Honolulu field office. “If you’re living in a lava flow 1 or 2 zone, it’s not an eligible area to build a house for HUD’s purposes. Obviously, the county has been allowing construction in zones 1 and 2, but sorry, no HUD monies in that area.”
HUD money can not go to housing, but it can go towards public infrastructure. Even boat ramps. “If that boat ramp is a public facility then it’s possible,” Chandler said.
Councilwoman Maile David pointed out that nearly half the island is in a lava zone 1 or 2, which means HUD cannot be involved in housing projects in most of her South Kona and Kaʻū districts. David wanted to know about possible changes to the lava zone map.
“Go back to USGS, because they’re the ones that actually do all the work and figure out where these lava areas are going to flow,” Chandler said.