(BIVN) – The County of Hawaiʻi is moving forward with a grant award of $9.79 million to 13 different nonprofits, supporting 22 projects to address housing and homelessness on Hawaiʻi island.
A resolution authorizing the awarding of the funds, derived from Tier Two property tax revenues, went before the Hawaiʻi County Council Committee on Legislative Approvals and Acquisitions on Tuesday.
The County of Hawaiʻi Office of Housing and Community Development later provided these details in a news release:
The projects target an array of initiatives from permanent supportive housing to substance abuse and mental health treatment to providing services to community members who need assistance in connecting to stable housing opportunities. Also funded are programs providing hygiene outreach, street medicine and family reunification for persons experiencing homelessness.
“Together with our non-profit community partners we are working to bolster the programs and services that play a vital role in protecting and uplifting some of the most vulnerable members of our community on Hawai’i Island,” said Housing Administrator Susan Kunz.
The funding comes from the Homelessness and Housing Fund created in 2022 through Ordinance 22-26, which appropriates 75% of tier two property tax revenues annually to address homelessness and housing on Hawaiʻi Island. The funding is set to expire in 2027.
On August 3, 2023, the OHCD issued a Request For Proposal seeking applicants to carry out priorities outlined in the Strategic Roadmap for Homelessness and Housing released in September 2022.
OHCD received 31 proposals from community organizations requesting over $16.2 million, far exceeding the available amount to potentially award in this second of an expected five fiscal years of appropriations.
The organizations and proposals recommended for funding are:
A six-member evaluation committee performed an extensive review process to rank the proposals, and the top 22 were selected for grants. The projects were proposed by 13 different organizations.
The Legislative Approvals and Acquisitions Committee of the County Council considered a resolution identifying the selected grants on Wednesday, December 5, 2023. The measure was forwarded to the full County Council with a favorable recommendation. The full County Council will take up the item on first reading later this month.
The Office of Housing and Community Development anticipates having contracts executed by early 2024. As part of the conditions outlined in the Request For Proposal, awarded organizations must submit monthly, quarterly and final reports on outcomes.
“This second round grants will ensure our partners are able to continue and expand efforts to address the immediate needs of our community while the County of Hawaiʻi works to improve its overall system of care by investing in infrastructure to deliver services while also working to construct and preserve affordable housing because at the end of the day the only way to end homelessness is through housing,” added Kunz. “Approaching homelessness through collaboration and partnerships is the only way we are going to move toward ensuring homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring.”
The first round of Homelessness and Housing Fund grants were awarded in spring 2023, awarding more than $7.5 million to 13 non-profits for 16 projects addressing homelessness and housing on Hawaiʻi Island.
“These funds help to put our money where our mouth is when it comes to addressing homelessness on Hawaiʻi Island. We have been working diligently to address the issue of homelessness in our parks and streets in a way that honors every individual as a close-knit member of our community. There is no easy way to go about it, but I’m confident that with these partnerships in place we will make significant strides forward, with aloha,” said Mayor Mitch Roth.