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Mayor Blangiardi signs bill to increase affordable rental housing units on O‘ahu

HONOLULU -- In a significant move forward, Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed Bill 1 (2021), CD1, FD1, into law, which will incentivize the development of an estimated 1,100 new affordable rental housing units for working families across the island.

Bill 1 provides up to $10 million in grants through May 2024 to eligible developers and property owners as an incentive to build more affordable rental units. Property owners can receive $9,000 or $15,000 per qualified unit based on the number of units rented to households below the area median income (AMI). Grants would be paid to owners of an eligible affordable rental housing project after completion of construction and issuance of a certificate of occupancy.

"We are excited about this new approach to building affordable housing. To be candid, government historically has spent a lot of time and money trying to build affordable housing, and it hasn't done a good job. Bill 1 will allow us to incentivize the private sector to build the units at a fraction of the cost and time it would take the government to do the work. This will also help revitalize areas by transforming buildings that were left in disrepair and turning them into renovated places to live," said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. "I'd like to thank the City Council for passing this measure, maximizing opportunities for local contractors, builders and construction industry workers and expanding affordable rental housing for residents here on O‘ahu."

"Oʻahu has a desperate need for housing that is truly affordable, with estimated demand of 22, 000 units by 2025 and growing for our families struggling at this time. The City Council looks forward to working with the Mayor on exploring all strategies to build sustainable and affordable housing opportunities for our kama‘āina," said Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters.

"The City Council was pleased to work with Mayor Blangiardi and his Administration to provide greater incentives for landowners to build homes for lower income households, where we have the greatest demand. We need a comprehensive plan for affordable housing so families can live where they were raised and stop leaving the islands for better housing prices elsewhere," said Council Vice Chair Esther Kiaʻāina, who chairs the Council's Committee on Housing and the Economy.

"The projected demands for affordable housing and affordable rental units continue to be greater than the number of projects we currently have in plan," said Office of Housing and Homelessness Executive Director Anton Krucky. "We believe that offering these grants will have a positive impact by incentivizing landowners to upgrade current units or build new buildings and offer them for affordable housing."

Bill 1, which was the first measure introduced by the Blangiardi administration, was passed by the Honolulu City Council on April 14, 2021.

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