HONOLULU (KHON2) — Native Hawaiians are the recipients of an unprecedented sum from the recent state legislative session: more than $ 1 billion.

Agencies and advocates say it marks a turning point for the community.

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A flurry of measures in the final days of the legislative session have added up bigger than ever for Native Hawaiians:

“I think what we see in this,” said Kuhio Lewis, CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, “is a serious commitment from our legislature to help address some of the concerns and the past commitments that have been made but never really fulfilled.”

Fulfillment still requires the money to get moved from the general fund to the actual projects and people it’s intended to serve. Firs, nearly half-a-billion will go quickly toward lot development.

“It could generate up to about 2,000-3,000 units, so we’d probably start there,” explained DHHL Deputy Director Tyler Iokepa Gomes. “We’ll try and see how we can get contracts locked in on the front end, knowing that the funding is going to be guaranteed through the life of the project.”

Meanwhile, more than $100 million could be geared toward getting people housed in non-DHHL properties through down payment or rental assistance, to chip away at the 28,000-long homelands waitlist.

“Home sales are processes that are very timely, and we’d hate to be a piece of that puzzle that’s not working in concert with everything else,” Gomes said, “so we’ll probably spend a few months making sure that is ironed out really nicely.”

It’s all happening just in time for May which is Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

“It really shows that we are advancing as a people, as a community recognized not just here in our state, but also nationally,” Lewis said.

CNHA is taking part in a slew of Washington events this week from congressional meetings on Hawaiian issues to Native Hawaiian Olympic medalist recognitions, and even a White House reception. Back home, the agencies responsible for administering the unprecedented funds credit the Hawaiian community, advocates like CNHA, and legislators for making it all happen.

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“There’s nothing like this that has ever been done in the department’s 100-year history,” Gomes said. “We’re grateful for the support across the board, because we couldn’t have done it without everyone. It is a kakou thing, as they say.”