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Thursday, June 22, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Thursday, June 22, 2023

Rodeo returns Saturday and Sunday, July 8 and 9 to Nāʻālehu Rodeo Grounds and two young ladies are running for
Rodeo Queen. The wahine above are Lorilee Lorenzo and Keanie Medeiros. The candidates are Sheaelia Freitas
 and Shainaleee Silva. See more below. Photo by Chuck McKeand

EXPANDING ACCESS TO HOMES IN RURAL HAWAI'I is aim of a new program announced by USDA Rural Development Director for Hawai'i & Western Pacific Chris Kanazawa. On Thursday, he said his agency has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Hawai'i Community Lending, Inc. to cooperate in providing long-term financing to qualified applicants to build and/or purchase modest, decent, safe, and sanitary homesin rural areas throughout the state.
    HCL provides homebuyers access to grants and consumer and affordable housing loans to assist with mortgage qualifying, including deferred payment, no-interest mortgage financing funded with public grant monies. To assist very-low and low-income families in becoming mortgage qualified, HCL will use deferred payment, no-interest mortgage financing to increase their ability to build and/or purchase homes in the current marketplace.

Kris Kanazawa and Rural Development partner
 with Hawai'i Community Lending to finance home
mortgages for low income families. USDA photo
    Those interested in the Section 502 Direct Loan Program, can go to www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-programs/single-family-housing-direct-home-loans
   Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas.
    For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. Subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates through  GovDelivery subscriber page.

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ONE IN FOUR LOCAL RESIDENTS STRUGGLES TO COVER HOUSING COSTS. "This is the biggest cost driver in our state." That is the report of Gov. Josh Green who posts regular video updates on facebook, writing on his white board to explain issues to the public, much as he did during the COVID pandemic. On Wednesday, Green reviewed the housing crisis and signed ten bills on housing passed by the 2023 Hawai'i Legislature. On facebook, he noted that a Kupuna Housing bill "expands our state rent supplement program." There is a "new low income housing option" and $280 million is going into the rental housing revolving fund, $100

Dr. Josh Green signs bill for affordable housing.

million into the dwelling unit revolving fund. On O'ahu, housing for homeless is being provided next to medical facilities to help stabilize them after medical treatment. He said it reduces medical costs when homeless people have a place to live with nearby supportive services.
    Green signed Act 97, which allows the state and county to create affordable housing on its own land and to lease the land for 99 years, making homes more affordable, without the purchase cost of the land.
    Green also signed Act 98, which provides rent payment subsidies for people 62 and older who
are on low fixed incomes. Some of those have very low retirement income from the last sugar plantation that shut down on the island in 1996, located in Pahala. As rents soar, some of these kupuna,

along with others without retirement benefits, face eviction. Hawai'i Island state Senator Joy Buenaventura introduced the bill with colleagues. The measure also sets up financial and mental health counseling.
    Green also signed Act 90 to give Department of Hawaiian Home Lands access to county housing credits that make affordable housing more attractive to developers. The aim is to incentivize home ownership on Hawaiian Home Lands. In Kaʻū, Hawaiian Home Lands are located in South Point and mauka of Hwy 11 in Wai'ohinu and Punalu'u. See more bills on housing in upcoming Kaʻū News Briefs.

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THE DEADLINE TO SUPPORT THE TWO RODEO QUEEN CONTESTANTS is June 30. The sponsor Kaʻū Roping & Riding Association will host the Independence Day rodeo where the queen will reign on July 8 and 9 at Na'alehu Rodeo Grounds.
    The candidates are Sheaelia Freitas and Shainaleee Silva. To help sponsor Silva for Rodeo Queen and to purchase rodeo tickets, call 808-928-8000 or see her sister Amery Silva's facebook. To help sponsor Freitas for Rodeo Queen and to purchase rodeo tickets, call her family at 808-987-2578 or message her mom Marlene Sauer Freitas. See their stories at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2023_06_17_archive.html.
    To support the entire rodeo, there are sponsorships for belt buckles and arena advertising, as well as opportunities for direct contributions to the nonprofit Kaʻū Roping & Riding Association. The group is raising money to purchase land to expand the rodeo grounds to include more parking. Call or text Tammy Kaapana at 808-854-7917.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com, in the mail and on stands.