Honolulu City Council approves Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget with focus on affordable housing

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High-rise redevelopment for affordable housing

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the city operating and capital budgets focused on key areas for economic recovery.

“Our budget isn’t just numbers on paper,” said Tommy Waters, Honolulu City Council chair and presiding officer. “It captures our community priorities and shows a pathway out of the pandemic, moving us towards a stronger and more sustainable economy.”

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The Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget is $2.924 billion and takes effect on July 1. The Council prioritized several areas when evaluating Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s budget proposal, which include increasing affordable housing, expanding city services and supporting economic diversification through local agriculture and small business assistance.

To address community and business calls for a more diversified island economy, $5 million for agriculture grants was added to the budget to support local farming and food production. The budget also includes several projects that will improve infrastructure for residents.

Below are highlights from the Council’s final amendments:

  • $170 million for affordable housing
  • $5 million agriculture grants for local farmers
  • $22.6 million in additional homeless services
  • $1.15 million for stream cleaning, needed staff and equipment
  • $500,000 mobile crisis unit to assist first responders in non-criminal homelessness/mental health cases
  • $300,000 for software to upgrade the permitting system
  • $20,000 for equipment for remote meeting options for Neighborhood Board meetings
  • $250,000 to improve energy efficiency at City waste facilities

“This budget helps address key community priorities and cost of living concerns,” said Vice Chair Esther Kia‘āina, who also chairs the Council’s Committee on Housing & the Economy. “We need increased affordable housing, economic diversification, and food security for our families and our kūpuna − and to do that we need to build more affordable housing units and support our local farmers and food production.”

The Council also worked in partnership with Blangiardi’s team to support shared goals to help government leverage more federal resources.

“Five months to the day after taking office we are extremely pleased and excited our first budget was unanimously approved and we are committed to making sure every dollar will be spent responsibly and efficiently on the challenges of building affordable housing, homelessness, infrastructure, public safety, and modernizing our City services,” Blangiardi said. “Our leadership team is 100% committed to improving our City and serving the people of Oahu.”

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