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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 11, 2002

Delays kill Kaua'i housing project

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser KauaÎi Bureau

'ELE'ELE, Kaua'i — The Kaua'i County Housing Agency is foreclosing on a $980,000 loan to Kaua'i Habitat for Humanity over an unfinished 95-lot, low-income subdivision.

Habitat for Humanity president Annette Creamer said the organization has a plan in place for the subdivision, but has had difficulty raising the required funds to develop it.

"We were in the process of bringing in other partners to do that, but we didn't meet the county's timeline," she said.

Habitat uses volunteer labor to develop homes that allow lower-income families to obtain housing at low cost. It has developed dozens of homes on Kaua'i, most of them on Department of Hawaiian Home Lands property, and some with county assistance.

County Executive on Housing Ken Rainforth said the county housing office supports Habitat for Humanity and will continue working with the organization on other projects, but could wait no longer on this one.

The housing office made the Habitat loan in 1997 out of a $41 million federal Department of Housing and Urban Development disaster grant issued after 1992's Hurricane 'Iniki.

Habitat used the $980,000 and an additional $500,000 grant from another source to buy 24 acres of Alexander & Baldwin land along Halewili Road and Kaumuali'i Highway in 'Ele'ele. It was zoned at about the time of the purchase to be subdivided into 95 house lots, but no roads or utilities had been installed and substantial infrastructure funding was needed.

"We've been working with them for four years trying to make this happen. To meet our commitments with HUD, we need to honor our commitment to develop low-income housing. They have firm rules that you can't use the money to land bank, and that's what this was becoming," Rainforth said.

The county cites as outstanding the $980,000 loan and $117,600 in late fees. Rainforth said he is not sure what the county will do with the land if it gets title to it through the foreclosure action.

"We have not made plans," he said.