Governor Neil Abercrombie and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan this afternoon spent over two hours meeting with management and residents at Mayor Wright and Palolo Valley Homes.
Mayor Wright Homes is a 364-unit development owned and managed by Hawai'i Public Housing Authority. Earlier this year, under Governor Abercrombie's directive, hot water was restored to residents in Mayor Wright Homes. The Abercrombie Administration is seeking partnerships to aid in other repair and maintenance at Mayor Wright Homes as well as other public housing properties across the state.
"We have a comprehensive housing policy in Hawai'i that includes repairing and building public housing units where people feel safe in their community and proud of their home," Governor Abercrombie said. "Secretary Donovan offered his full support for Hawai'i and he expressed his enthusiasm for our efforts to coordinate the public and private sectors to nurture vibrant, affordable communities across the islands."
Palolo Valley Homes is a 300-unit housing development for low-income families. HUD provided a $1.7 million grant to Palolo Valley Homes to build its Learning Center. Additional funding came from development partners Kapiolani Community College, University of Hawai'i, Oceanic Time Warner Cable and the City and County of Honolulu.
The Learning Center opened in December 2010 and features a state of the art computer lab with more than 30 computers in an air-conditioned room, a video production lab, and interactive software. Amenities include a kitchen, children's play area, health exam room and a large screen television.
Secretary Donovan praised the renovations that have occurred at Palolo Valley Housing. "I will go back to Washington D.C. inspired by your example," he said. "We want innovative techniques in bringing non-profit and private partners to the table to make a community truly a home to its residents."
"We must be creative and we must be bold," Secretary Donovan added. "It is an inspiration for me to witness this remarkable transformation that all of you have helped to make happen."
Secretary Donovan also noted that reshaping public housing builds communities and creates jobs.
Prior to meeting with Secretary Donovan, Governor Abercrombie spent the morning chairing the first meeting of the Hawai'i Interagency Council on Homelessness. The council, which is tasked with the goal of implementing solutions to address homelessness in Hawai'i, is comprised of 24 members from state departments, federal agencies, and community organizations and the State Legislature.
During his visit in Hawai'i, Secretary Donovan recently remarked that "by connecting housing with supportive services, communities across the country have reduced the number of chronically homeless people by more than a third inside of five years -- all while saving money for the taxpayer."
Governor Abercrombie said, "We can thank Secretary Donovan and President Obama for being partners with us. This is just the beginning to ensure that everyone is housed and to build stronger communities."
Photos of today's events are posted here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilabercrombie/sets/