(BIVN) – The use of $83 million in federal grants for housing recovery following the 2018 Kīlauea eruption is detailed in a new Hawai‘i County draft Action Plan, which is online and ready for public comment.
The federal funds were provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program. The County says the draft plan demonstrates how it will apply the funds to address unmet housing needs for disaster victims.
The 4-month long eruption on the lower East Rift Zone of Puna destroyed 723 structures, including 612 homes. Of the destroyed homes, 294 were primary residences, the County says.
The County says it will primarily use the grants “to support a voluntary buyout program for affected properties in order to assist displaced residents and reduce risks from future eruptions on Kīlauea’s lower East Rift Zone.” The buyout program is anticipated to begin in April 2021 and to be completed by June 2026, the County says. This additional information is found on the Kīlauea Eruption Recovery website:
The Buyout Program will acquire residential properties impacted by the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. Properties will be acquired through voluntary sale. Eligible properties include those that were inundated or isolated by lava, suffered physical damage (including from fires and wildfires caused by lava), or have been physically impacted by secondary effects, including heat and gases at their property. Buyout offers are based on the pre-disaster (2017) appraised market value of the property minus any duplication of benefits.
Maximum buyout offer: $230,000.
Low- to moderate-income (LMI) applicants will be prioritized over non-LMI applicants. At least 70% of available funds, excluding planning and administration expenses, will be used to serve LMI households, as required by HUD.
It is anticipated that all participants found eligible to receive funding through the program will be LMI eligible. In order to assist those most severely impacted by the disaster event, a second phase of prioritization will take place. Once LMI eligibility is determined, applicants will be prioritized based on the following:
– Documented primary residence.
– Secondary residence.
– Undeveloped residential parcel.
Duplication of Benefits
Buyout offers are based on the pre-disaster (2017) appraised market value of the property minus a duplication of benefits and are subject to this maximum buyout amount. If a homeowner received, or was approved for, Federal or other assistance, such as an insurance payout, those funds will be evaluated as a possible duplication of benefits against the final buyout amount. The maximum buyout amount will be applied after any duplication of benefits is analyzed. Property owners are required to provide information on all potentially duplicative funding sources associated with any eligible structure.
Proposed Start/End Dates
This program is anticipated to begin in April 2021 and to be completed by June 2026.
The total program budget for the buyout program is $78,000,000. This allocation may be increased or decreased based on the demand for the program with amendment to the Action Plan and approval by the Hawai‘i County Housing Agency and HUD.
The remainder of the grant funds will go towards a Housing Relocation Service program “for income-qualified residents who were displaced by the eruption and do not currently have secure, permanent housing.” That may include participants who have been approved through the Buyout Program and are income-qualified.
Comments on this Action Plan can be submitted:
- By email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In-person at 25 Aupuni St., Suite 1301, Hilo, HI 96720.
- Sent by U.S. mail to 25 Aupuni St., Suite 1301, Hilo, HI 96720.
The draft plan can be viewed online here. Copies of the document are available for review at 25 Aupuni St., Suite 1301, Hilo, HI 96720. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except on holidays, the County says.