Last month, Chair Ernie Martin and I introduced Resolution 18-131, which was considered during the Council’s Budget Committee meeting on June 27, 2018. Resolution 18-131 urges the City administration to identify areas in the City, possibly including the Chinatown area, which may meet the criteria for slum or blight areas as defined by the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD). With recent reports of violent crimes in Chinatown, including the stabbing reported last month, reports of prostitution, gambling and drug dealing throughout the community, we believe that designating some areas of Chinatown as slum or blight areas may help secure CDBG funds to mitigate these conditions and renew revitalization efforts in these areas.
According to HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) regulations, funds granted through its program must meet one of three objectives: benefit low and moderate income persons, meet a need having a particular urgency, or aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight. A blighted or slum area is defined as having public improvements throughout the area that are in a general state of deterioration, or have at least 25% of an area’s properties either deteriorating, abandoned, have low property values, or have chronic turnover rates in the case of commercial and industrial buildings.
Community projects that may benefit from CDBG funding include the revitalization of Maunakea Marketplace and renovations to the City’s Pauahi Recreation Center. If the City levereages CDBG funds to revive iconic community gathering places like these, this area has the potential to be the center of the revitalization wave in Chinatown.
Resolution 18-131 was reported out of the Budget Committee meeting, and is expected to be considered for adoption at the July 11, 2018 full Council meeting. Please contact Doris Lam of my staff at 768-5074 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to submit testimony on this resolution for the upcoming Council meeting.
Paid in part by the taxpayers of the City and County of Honolulu.