HHFDC Response to AARP Report on Hawaii Housing

Posted on Feb 27, 2024 in News

Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation
For Immediate Release: February 27, 2024

HONOLULU—The Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) clarified today several misstatements made by AARP Hawaii (AARP) in its Feb. 26 press release regarding the possible loss of the affordability of approximately 10,000 housing units in the state over the next 20 years.

The press release is based on a report commissioned by AARP but not provided to HHFDC before publication.

Specifically, HHFDC notes that:

  • HHFDC’s own count shows that 2,082 rental units now affordable under HHFDC’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program are scheduled to have their formal commitments end in the next 20 years.

    The AARP report’s 10,000-unit estimate was based on a national data base which does not take into account that developers for most Hawaii projects agree to a 61-year affordability commitment. HHFDC’s incentivizes the longer 61-year commitment period when making financing awards.

    From subsequent discussions with AARP officials, HHFDC understands that the 10,000-unit estimate includes units that do not receive assistance from HHFDC but from other public and private sources of funding. It is likely that some of these units are owned by government or nonprofit agencies dedicated to providing housing opportunities and who therefore are not inclined to convert affordable units into market-rate units upon the expiration of affordability restrictions.

    HHFDC also believes that the 10,000-unit estimate consists largely of older rental projects that may already no longer be under government restrictions but may remain affordable due to the owners’ choice.

    HHFDC projects that its programs will produce 6,497 affordable rental units in the next five years alone, with about 5,700 of those units affordable to households earning 60% of area median income or less.

    This will be achieved in part through additional Rental Housing Revolving Fund (RHRF) assistance from the Hawaii State Legislature, which has provided the fund with significant infusions in recent years, HHFDC Executive Director Dean Minakami said. Additionally, HHFDC’s Finance Branch is prioritizing the issuance of RHRF loan awards based on project readiness and efficiency, he said.

  • The report misstated the number of housing units owned by HHFDC – it is 32 units, not 826.

    Over the past decade, HHFDC sold in leasehold most of its affordable rental housing portfolio through a series of transactions that ensured affordability for 75 years while the new project owners committed to substantial renovation programs.

“HHFDC will continue to work with other governmental agencies and non-governmental housing stakeholders toward achieving Governor Josh Green’s goal of providing as many affordable housing options for kamaaina families in the most efficient and effective manner as possible,” Minakami said.

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About the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC):
The mission of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation is to increase and preserve the supply of affordable housing statewide by providing financing and development resources.

Gordon Pang
Housing Information Officer
Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation
Office: 808-587-0597