The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded Hawaii $14,252,365 to help address the state’s affordable housing and homelessness crises.

The funding includes $7,286,071 for affordable housing from the Community Development Block Grant Program program and $1,119,808 to address homelessness from the Emergency Solutions Grant Program program.

The grants also include $5,205,409 from the HOME Investment Partnerships Program for low-income housing and $641,077 for housing for people with HIV/AIDS through the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program.

Hawaii’s congressional delegation praised the grants in a press release Thursday:

“Homelessness is one of the most serious and urgent challenges we face in our state, and we need to act now to address it,” said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, who is part of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. “With the Governor’s new working group of state, county, and federal leaders, we’re beginning to see a real and collective seriousness of purpose in solving homelessness from all levels of government. While resolving this crisis won’t come immediately or cheaply, this renewed focus puts us in a good position to work on real, long-term solutions. As part of this new task force and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’m going to be working closely with HUD and do my part to make sure federal funds, including grants like these, continue to give the State and the City and County of Honolulu the critical resources to finally address the housing shortage in Hawai‘i and put people back in homes.”

“Too many individuals and families in Hawaii struggle to obtain a safe and stable home. The issues of affordable housing and homelessness are complex but we need to continue to work towards solutions,” said U.S. Sen. Mazie K. Hirono. “The Governor’s Leadership Team on Homelessness is an example of both the leadership and coordination that needs to take place at the federal, state and county levels of government to grapple with these issues statewide. Government by itself cannot solve these issues. It will take a collaboration between the public and private sectors, which is occurring. I will continue work with all stakeholders to secure necessary funding such as these grants, which allows Hawaii to assist and address the needs of our most vulnerable individuals and families.”

“Hawaiʻi’s homelessness rate is already among the highest in the country. The extreme shortage of truly accessible and affordable housing on every island makes it increasingly difficult for families and individuals with limited resources to find a safe, stable place to live,” said U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “While they don’t solve the problem, these grants will help support local programs that serve those most in need.”

“At a crucial time when Hawaii is facing a critical shortage of affordable and transition housing, these grants will provide additional resources to our most vulnerable of residents, and help to begin the process of helping them find permanent housing,” said U.S. Rep. Mark Takai. “I have participated in several meetings with HUD Secretary Julian Castro about this issue and have emphasized the need for federal support. I would like to extend a warm mahalo to HUD and Secretary Castro for their commitment to helping our islands, and hope that we can continue to work on homelessness, along with State and local agencies.”

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