Carroll Submits Bill to Create Affordable Housing
East Maui council member Robert Carroll introduced a bill that seeks to provide tax exemptions for property owners that provide rental units for use in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Section 8 rental assistance program.
The purpose of the bill is to authorize a $75,000 tax exemption, per active contract, for property owners that participate in the HUD Housing Choice Vouchers rental program.
Under the proposed bill, a property owner would receive the exemption from the assessed value of their real property for every active Section 8 rental contract they have executed with the department. The legislation permits up to 10 contracts per parcel for a maximum exemption of $750,000.
Carroll said the proposed bill seeks to accomplish three main goals:
- create affordable housing
- provide tax exemptions for individuals providing affordable housing; and
- prevent the loss of federal funding for affordable housing.
In a press release statement, Carroll said, “The cost of maintaining rental property continues to become more expensive with increases in utilities, maintenance and property taxes,” said Carroll. “The proposed bill seeks to reduce overhead costs by reducing property taxes, which I hope will be an incentive to property owners to participate in the Section 8 program,” he said.
Carroll cited the DHHC saying, “only 47% of families who have received a Section 8 voucher have been able to find units to rent.”
Officials note that the County of Maui is allotted 1,464 Section 8 vouchers per month, but families with vouchers are finding it difficult to secure a place to live primarily because of the high cost of rental units.
According to Carroll, the DHHC noted that federal funding provided by HUD is in jeopardy of being lost if the number of property owners participating in the Section 8 rental program does not increase.
Carroll notes that the DHHC confirmed that the HUD allotment for the Section 8 program was reduced by nearly one million dollars from FY2014 because families were unable to utilize their vouchers, resulting from an inability to find a unit to rent.
According to Carroll, the county has lost over $1.4 million in Section 8 funds over the last year and a half. He states that in FY2014, the county allocation was reportedly $15.3 million, with only $14.5 million worth of vouchers utilized. “As of July 2015, the county allocation was over $8.6 million, with only $8 million being utilized,” according to Carroll.
“The County of Maui has the potential of losing nearly $3 million in federal funding if something is not done soon,” said Carroll. “The county must act immediately to try to give property owners incentive to participate in this vitally important program,” he said.
The proposed bill was transmitted to the Maui County Council on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, for consideration and referral to the appropriate council committee.