Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bringing the hammer down on affordable housing

Photo (L-R): Max Kopper, a bills researcher in the Senate Ways & Means Committee, and Tom McAuliffe, a community affairs specialist in Rep. Cindy Evans' office, fought tooth and nail for the title of fastest nail driver at a Habitat for Humanity awareness event at the Hawaii State Capitol today.

In an effort to hammer in the importance of addressing the state's affordable housing issue, Hawaii Habitat for Humanity held an awareness event in the Capitol Rotunda this afternoon.

Lawmakers and staff members were invited to participate in a contest to see who could pound in the most nails in 30 seconds.

The non-profit organization that builds homes for impoverished and home-less families recently requested an amendment to SB3174, a bill that would:

(1) Extend the sunset date of the 50 percent conveyance tax allocation to the Rental Housing Trust Fund (RHTF) from June 30, 2008, to June 30, 2013;

(2) Appropriate funds for third-party review and certification of building permits for affordable housing projects;

(3) Establish and appropriating funds to the Self-help Housing Fund to assist with technical assistance expenditures up to $20,000 per self-help housing unit; and

(4) Change the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation's (HHFDC) revenue bond ceiling from $400,000,000 to an unspecified amount.
During a Committee on Finance hearing, Hawaii Habitat for Humanity asked committee members to allow the Self-Help Housing Fund to also be used for land acquisition, infrastructure and construction.

The Finance committee did not amend the bill, instead opting to extend the effective date to July 1, 2020 to encourage further discussion and deliberation on the organization's request during committee conference with Senate members next week.

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