Proposed Rule Would Provide Clarity, Make Rental Assistance and Affordable Housing Opportunities More Available to Native Hawaiian Families
This week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a proposed rule to expand rental assistance to Native Hawaiian families under the department’s Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) program.
Under the proposed rule, HUD would amend its regulations to clarify how the 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). The rule also clarifies and improves the consistency with NAHASDA’s statutory requirements and HUD’s Indian Housing Block Grant program regulations. This proposed rule would also expand affordable housing opportunities for low-income Native Hawaiian families.
“This policy change will expand affordable housing opportunities to Native Hawaiian families and ensure those who need additional help can access it,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, “HUD is committed to making rental housing assistance and affordable housing more attainable.”
In 2019, Hawaii’s governor approved administrative rules that allowed the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) – the sole recipient of the NHHBG – to expand residential lease offerings to include rental housing. After receiving feedback from the DHHL about rental housing projects currently in development, HUD reviewed its regulations and determined that they do not adequately explain how NHHBG funds may be used for rental assistance and could be revised to provide additional details to better support a fully successful rental housing program administered by the DHHL. That review prompted HUD’s proposed rule issued this week.
The proposed rule is now open for public comment. HUD strongly encourages commenters to submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. To read the proposed rule and/or to submit comment, click here.