(BIVN) – Thirteen organizations will be getting over $7.5 million in “unprecedented” grant funding to carry out sixteen different projects to address homelessness on Hawaiʻi island.
From the County of Hawaiʻi:
The County of Hawai‘i Office of Housing & Community Development (OHCD) announces the selection of sixteen projects for grant funding of over $7.5 million in unprecedented local County investments toward addressing homelessness on Hawai‘i Island.
In November, OHCD issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking applications to carry out priorities outlined in the Strategic Roadmap for Homelessness and Housing released in September. OHCD received thirty-one proposals from twenty-one different community organizations requesting over $25 million, far exceeding the available amount to potentially award in this first of an expected five fiscal years of appropriations. A five-member evaluation committee performed an extensive review process to rank the proposals, and the top sixteen were selected for grants.
“This first year was an opportunity for us to see the capacity of our service providers on the ground as we continue making inroads on homelessness,” said Housing Administrator Susan Kunz. “As we know, communities nationwide are confronting the homelessness crisis. This is one step towards supporting the most vulnerable in our community.”
Selected initiatives range from permanent supportive housing projects to substance abuse and mental health treatment programs to professional development systems that help build the capacity of the front-line homeless service provider workforce.
“Partnerships are the only way that we will be able to provide the diverse spectrum of services needed to adequately address the homelessness issue on our island,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “Forging a sustainable Hawaiʻi Island where our keiki can thrive and succeed for generations means creating a place where every individual is provided the services necessary to succeed regardless of the adversities they face.”
Kunz also expressed appreciation for the organizations and County support. “We are very grateful to our partners for the work they are about to embark on with these projects,” said Housing Administrator Susan Kunz. “While the number of proposals was promising, it presented a challenging selection process. It’s unfortunate not all could be funded in this round. We will look for ways to work with all stakeholders. We’re thankful for the County investment.”
In March 2022, the Council passed, and Mayor Roth signed Ordinance 22-26, which appropriated funds to address the pressing issues of homelessness and housing.
Sixty-two percent of the total budget for projects receiving the County grants will be funded by other sources, including from Federal, State, and private entities, optimizing the leverage of local tax dollars to affect a more significant impact. As part of the conditions outlined in the RFP, awarded organizations must submit monthly, quarterly, and final reports on outcomes.
The Legislative Approvals and Acquisitions Committee of the County Council considered a resolution identifying the selected grants on March 7 and forwarded it to the full Council with a favorable recommendation. The item is expected to pass through the Council later today.