Hawaii News

$6.6M in new federal grant program heading to Hawaiʻi to build more housing

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Graphics courtesy of HUD.

Gov. Josh Green alongside US Sen. Brian Schatz and HUD Regional Administrator Jason Pu, on Wednesday announced that Hawai‘i has been awarded more than $6.6 million in new federal grant funding to help build more housing. The funding comes from a new grant program based on Schatz’s bipartisan ‘Yes In My Backyard’ legislation and was first funded in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations bill. The new Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing (PRO Housing) program rewards state and local governments that reform land-use policies and other local barriers that constrain the supply of affordable housing. 

In Hawai‘i, lack of infrastructure has been cited as an important obstacle to building more housing. With this PRO Housing grant, The Hawaiʻi Office of Planning and Sustainable Development will create a State Infrastructure Bank as a long-term infrastructure financing solution and accelerate critical infrastructure investments to unlock housing production at a larger, more impactful scale than existing initiatives.

Additionally, the grant will allow the state to increase capacity to identify and address regulatory burdens that are driving up the cost of housing across the state. This effort will build on the state’s recently passed landmark pro-housing package to allow more homes in urban areas and commercial zones.


“Addressing Hawai‘i’s housing crisis is one of our top priorities. This new federal funding will significantly bolster our efforts to provide more affordable housing options for our residents,” said Green. “By creating a State Infrastructure Bank and addressing regulatory barriers, we can overcome some of the biggest hurdles in housing production and work towards a future where every family in Hawai‘i has a place to call home.”

“Solving our state’s housing crisis is one of the biggest challenges of this generation. It will take our collective efforts – federal, state, and county – to solve it. That’s why we created this grant program and are helping reward states like Hawai‘i that are doing the right things to build more housing and help local families find an affordable home,” said Schatz, chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

“Thanks to the work of Senator Schatz in the Senate and Governor Green in the state, HUD is thrilled to provide the state of Hawaiʻi with over $6.6 million in PRO Housing funds,” said Regional Administrator Pu. “The Biden-Harris Administration has invested historic levels of resources for housing, infrastructure, and economic development and today’s PRO Housing award will help the state of Hawaiʻi continue its investments in housing-enabling infrastructure, updates of local regulations, and production of more affordable housing.”


For decades, local zoning and land use regulations, as well as the lack of necessary housing-related infrastructure, have prevented housing production from keeping pace with population and economic growth, resulting in a nationwide housing shortage. The PRO Housing program, a first-of-its-kind federal initiative, will help reverse this trend by rewarding state, local, and regional jurisdictions that address exclusionary zoning practices, land use policies, and housing infrastructure to increase the supply of affordable housing.

These policies include increasing density, reducing minimum lot sizes, creating transit-oriented development zones, streamlining or shortening permitting processes and timelines, expanding by-right multifamily zoned areas, allowing accessory dwelling units on lots with single-family homes, eliminating or relaxing residential property height limitations, eliminating or reducing off-street parking requirements and allowing the conversion of vacant retail and office space into residential housing.

In this first round, applications were submitted from more than 175 communities – representing a wide variety of demographics, geographies, and population sizes – across 47 states and territories.


Schatz secured an additional $100 million for the new grant program in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development fiscal year 2024 appropriations bill, which was signed into law in March.


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