Governor releases $52.4M for public housing, technology

Kalihi Valley Homes (Photo: Office of the Governor)

Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Monday the release of more than $52.4 million for various capital improvement projects that will improve state public housing facilities and address aging technology to increase the state’s work and energy efficiency.

“These funds will help bring positive change to the lives of those in public housing and provide much-needed job opportunities,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “This administration has now released more than $3 billion for capital improvement projects that are helping to stimulate our economy. Hawaii’s labor force is at an all-time high and the state’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level since August 2008.”

Allotment of funds for the following projects, identified by state legislators, has been approved by the Governor:

Department of Human Services

$45,000,000 – Lump Sum Public Housing Development, Improvements and Renovations, statewide – Design, equipment and construction funds to develop, upgrade or renovate public housing facilities, including ground and site improvements, infrastructure, equipment, appurtenances and all related or associated project costs for public housing across the state. Hawaii Public Housing Authority administers a public housing portfolio of 85 properties, consisting of 6,195 public housing units.

$2,000,000 – Modernization of Eligibility Determination System, statewide – Design funds for plans to modernize the eligibility determination system for public assistance programs under the Benefits, Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD), which will be integrated with Medicaid’s new eligibility system. Currently, BESSD relies on a 25-year-old integrated computer system to automate eligibility determination for its public assistance programs, including General Assistance; Aid to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and Temporary Assistance to Other Needy Families; and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

$2,000,000 – Modernization of Case Management System, statewide – Design funds for plans to modernize the case management system for the Social Services Division. The current system is approximately 25-years-old and is based on outdated information technology that is both costly and time consuming to maintain and update. The new system will be partially integrated with Medicaid’s new Kauwale On-Line Eligibility Assistance System (KOLEA).

Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism

$2,725,000 – High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) Facility, Oahu – Design funds for a new HTDC facility. HTDC’s lease for its Manoa Innovation Center will terminate in April 2015.

$734,000 – Chiller Replacement with Energy Efficient Technologies at Maui Research and Technology Center (MRTC), Maui – Planning, design, construction and equipment funds to replace the chiller at MRTC and construct a mechanical room on the ground to protect the new equipment from the elements. The chiller replacement and relocation will reduce maintenance costs, increase energy efficiency and have replacement parts readily available should there be a failure.

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