HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed a bill relating to funding the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ “special fund” to help create an approach to eliminate its waitlist.
The signing ceremony took place on Monday, July 11, at around 11 a.m. at Washington Place in Honolulu.
The purpose of bill HB2511 is to provide $600 million to DHHL “to pursue a multi-pronged approach to eliminating its waitlist.”
According to the bill, it will establish the Hawaiian home lands special fund and appropriate funds to “enable beneficiaries of the Hawaiian home lands trust to acquire a residence and to enable the department to fulfill its fiduciary duties to beneficiaries.”
Joining Gov. Ige at the ceremony is First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige, and representatives of the State House and Senate. William J. Aila, Jr., chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission and director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands will also be there.
Senator Jarrett Keohokalole spoke after Gov. Ige and said the governor worked with the community to bring the funding amount from zero to 600 million.
“There are thousands of things to do with the money. Many of it is so important and it reflects what your values are,” said Sen. Keohokalole. “It sends a message to the people in the community. Engaging is critical, it’s the only way to bring people together.”
Sen. Keaohokalole said there was no way they would get the bill passed without showing the community how important the bill is.
During this election season, “make this a priority — this needs to continue to be a priority,” said Sen. Keohokalole.
William J. Aila, Jr., chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission and director of the DHHL said this is a “very historic day.”
DHHL chairman Aila, Jr. said, “This commitment is the most consequential allocation of funding for the implementation of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act in its 100-year history. Sufficient funding to develop the raw landholdings of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust has been elusive for decades. Today’s signing marks a turning of the page from this dark past to a brighter future for native Hawaiians.”
Later this month, there will be a discussion on the implementation of the DHHL’s plan to help make Native Hawaiians on the waitlist, homeowners.
“The measure will allow the DHHL to expedite the construction of thousands of new homestead lots and housing units throughout the state. DHHL will also leverage its federal funding and trust assets to expand housing services to beneficiaries including down-payment assistance, rental subsidies, and expanded financial literacy education,” said DHHL chairman Aila, Jr.
To those on the waiting list, DHHL chairman Aila, Jr. concluded, “Make sure we have your current address.”
For more information on this bill, click here.