TAKAI VOTES TO STREAMLINE ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Congressman works to fight homelessness in Hawaii

WASHINGTON – February 3, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Mark Takai voted in favor of the bi-partisan Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 3700), which makes basic reforms to housing assistance programs so that more can benefit from these programs.

“At a crucial time when Hawaii is facing a critical shortage of affordable and transition housing, I am proud to work to streamline the application and move-in processes for families to get them in homes and off the streets,” Takai said. “I am pleased to see both Democrats and Republicans come together and tackle this important issue head on,” Takai added.

This bill provides important improvements to assist low-income individuals and families to live in greater dignity by providing a means for a family with children to continue use of a housing voucher to move to a neighborhood that is safer for the children, allowing for quicker inspections of housing units on which vouchers can be used, providing “hardship” exemptions to families facing higher costs due to ancillary positive changes, and allowing Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to establish a Multifamily Housing Revitalization Program to ensure sufficient resources to provide safe and affordable housing for low-income residents and farm laborers.

The bill also makes a few changes to HUD’s homelessness programs, particularly with regard to veteran homelessness. This includes the following reforms to allow Public Housing Authorities (PHA) and local redevelopment authorities to be eligible to conduct activities under the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program as sub-grantees, to require the HUD Secretary to appoint a Special Assistant for Veterans Affairs to coordinate HUD’s efforts on veteran homelessness; and to require an annual supplemental report to Congress on HUD’s activities relating to veterans.

“Providing for our homeless veterans is much more than a housing issue for me, it is about keeping the promises we made to our men and women in uniform. I will always stand on the side of legislation that serves our community of homeless veterans and will work to ensure that Hawaii has the ability to provide crucial services for the entire veteran community of our state. We have an obligation to provide for our veterans who face new battles at home as they return to civilian life. No veteran should struggle to secure a place to live after serving our nation,” Takai concluded.

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