|HUD No. 24-027
HUD Public Affairs
February 12, 2024
HUD Expands Housing Assistance Opportunities for Native Hawaiian Families
Final rule makes rental assistance and affordable housing opportunities more available under the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program.
WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a final rule to expand affordable housing opportunities in the form of rental assistance to Native Hawaiian families under the Department’s Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) program.
“We are committed to supporting Hawaiian communities with quality, affordable housing, especially low-income Native Hawaiian families who reside on the Hawaiian Home Lands and often face significant housing challenges,” said Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Expanding the availability of affordable and accessible housing options will enable Native Hawaiians to maintain their housing and ensure benefits for future generations.”
Under the Implementing Rental Housing Assistance for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program final rule, HUD amends its regulations to clarify how program funds can be used for rental housing assistance, as authorized by Title VIII of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA). For example, NHHBG funds may be used for project-based or tenant-based rental assistance, as well as for the operation and maintenance of project units occupied by eligible Native Hawaiian families rather than only those units developed with NHHBG funds. The amendments also help to ensure compliance with the NHHBG program’s statutory requirements and promote consistency between NHHBG and HUD’s Indian Housing Block Grant program regulations where the programs’ statutory requirements overlap.
“This final rule will further strengthen the NHHBG program,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, Richard J. Monocchio. “These changes will ensure that the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) can better serve more Native Hawaiian families.”
In 2019, the governor of Hawaii approved administrative rules that permitted DHHL – the only recipient of the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) – to broaden residential lease options to encompass rental housing. Following feedback from DHHL regarding rental housing projects under development, HUD reviewed its regulations. It found that they lacked sufficient explanation on how NHHBG funds could be utilized for rental assistance and could benefit from revisions to offer additional details, enhancing support for a rental housing program managed by DHHL. This review prompted HUD to issue the final rule.
The final rule can be found in the Federal Register here.