WAILUKU, Maui, Hawai`i–“We are pleased with the court’s decision to allow the County to have a safe Halloween in Lahaina,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa. “In years past when we did not close downFront Street it made the event hazardous, with people overflowing off the sidewalk and onto the street and walking alongside traffic.
“We would like to thank all of the businesses and community members who worked with us to make this a safe and fun, family-friendly event for everyone. Please join us in having a Happy Halloween.”
Lenders have avoided Hawaii’s new mortgage foreclosure resolution program because of a phrase in the law that would leave them open to litigation.
Honolulu Civil Beat reports that state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs says lenders are avoiding the program because the penalty for violating the “unfair or deceptive act or practice” provision in the law is significant so they don’t want to risk it. Civil Beat reports that a task force will make recommendations to lawmakers for clarifying the law during the next legislative session.
HONOLULU –The State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) and Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation (HCRC) today announced the launch of GreenSun Hawaii, an innovative energy financing credit enhancement program made available through a Recovery Act grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
In partnership with approved Hawaii-based solar contractors, the program enables customers to apply for financing forsolar water heating and other energy-efficient equipment with up to three participating lenders of their choice through an easy-to-use online application. The improvements will reduce overall energy consumption and ultimately, yield significant cost savings to property owners. GreenSun Hawaii loans will feature longer terms and lower interest rates than loans offered outside of the program. The goal is to provide financing options that will result in lower monthly payments in comparison to the customers’ current utility bills.
“GreenSun is a great example on how we are leveraging federal funds to put money in local people’s pockets,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “This $2.69 million investment can grow to millions in loans that will lower the state’s consumption of imported oil and free up consumer dollars through energy savings. It helps our people, it protects our aina, and it contributes to our local economy.”
GreenSun Hawaii is intended to stimulate affordable private lending for energy efficiency and renewable energy installations by covering part of a lender’s risk. It is anticipated that a number of financial institutions will participate in the program and extend financing with competitive terms and rates to a larger pool of customers. Structured as a long-term public-private partnership, the GreenSun Hawaii program is capable of leveraging $2.691 million in federal funds into $98.5 million in clean energy loans over the next 15 years.
“It’s a major step in fulfilling the Governor’s New Day plan to further energy independence,” said DBEDT Director Richard Lim. “The GreenSun Hawaii loans program will increase the ability of participants to qualify and affordthe upfront costs of energy efficiency improvements, which will pay for themselves through energy savings for many years to come.
Capitalized with $2.691 million in federal funds, GreenSun Hawaii provides partner financial institutions access to a loan loss reserve which may cover between 10 to 100 percent of defaults on eligible energy efficiency and renewal energy system financing. For every loan that is approved under the GreenSun Hawaii program, HCRC will deposit between four to fourteen percent into a reserve account to be made available to the lender in the event of a default. As loans are repaid, the funds will be reinvested into new clean energy loans.
“Because of state and federal tax rebates, Hawaii has the most solar water heaters and is second in solar electric installations in the country. Now, we can make these and other energy- saving technologies available to more people, especially those who have not been able to afford upfront costs,” said Mark Glick, Administrator of DBEDT’s State Energy Office. “The rebates are available only after spending the money on the equipment, but GreenSun financing take it a step further by allowing more residents and businesses to buy the equipment, save on their electric bills, and help us get to our goal of 70% clean energy by 2030.”
“GreenSun Hawaii aims to afford everyone (residential and non-residential property owners) in Hawaii the opportunity to take advantage of the abundant solar power that exists throughout our islands,” said Gwen Yamamoto Lau, president of HCRC. “With $4 billion annually flowing out of Hawaii to meet our energy needs, it’s important that we find innovative ways to increase our energy efficiency while saving money, both individually and collectively.”
Lenders and contractors who want to participate in the GreenSun Hawaii program are encouraged to contact HCRC. Currently, participating lenders and authorized contractors include:
Dr. Tawn Keeney, owner of the Honoka‘a People’s Theater, which is one of the oldest and largest theatres in Hawaii, is one of the first recipients of the GreenSun Hawaii program. “With the financial help from The Queen’s Federal Credit Union and the installation of the solar electric (photovoltaic) equipment by Renewable Energy Services, Inc., GreenSun Hawaii has allowed me to achieve my goal to making the theater more sustainable,” said Dr. Keeney. “With this program, we will be able to reduce our operating expenses while having tangible positive environmental impacts in our community such as avoiding an estimated 720,000 lbs. of CO2 and reducing the use of 11,688 gallons of oil, which can be used over the life of the system. What’s interesting is that this amount is equivalent to planting 1,736 trees.”
For more information about GreenSun Hawaii, including loan application and solar contractor and financial institution listings, please visit: www.greensunhawaii.com.
About Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation
Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation (HCRC) is a community-based non-profit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1990 to facilitate affordable housing, community development and economic development statewide. Designated as a Community Development Financial Institution, Community Development Entity and Certified Development Company, HCRC provides below market, long-term fixed rate financing for multi-family rental projects and SBA 504 loans to small business owners.
WASHINGTON >> The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage was nearly unchanged for a second straight week after rising from a record low.
Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.10 percent from 4.11 percent last week. Three weeks ago, it dropped to 3.94 percent. The National Bureau of Economic Research says that’s the lowest rate ever.
The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 3.38 percent. Three weeks ago, it hit a record low of 3.26 percent.
Low rates have done little to jolt the struggling housing market. Sales remain depressed, and home prices are still dropping in many markets. High unemployment and declining wages have made it harder for many people to qualify for loans.
Washington, DC–Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) today released the following statement on H.R. 3094, the “Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act,” which passed the House Committee on Education and the Workforce this morning and could reach the House floor as soon as next week. A more accurate title for this bill would be the “Election Prevention Act.”
This legislation undermines workers’ rights by making it difficult for employees to organize. The bill would add extra delays and roadblocks before workers could vote on whether to join a union.
“In Hawaii and around the country, the number one issue on people’s minds is job creation. Sadly, this bill does not create a single job,” said Congresswoman Hirono. “Rather, this bill is another attack on middle class families. In Hawaii, we believe in fairness and respect. We believe that working women and men should be able to have a voice at the table. Collective bargaining for better wages and working conditions helped build the middle class. This bill would severely roll back these rights and hurt Hawaii’s families.”
Congresswoman Hirono voted against the bill in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. It passed by a vote of 23-16.
HONOLULU – The Department of Human Services (DHS) will reduce its Child Welfare Services (CWS) contracts with community providers and the University of Hawaii by $5.8 million beginning December 1, 2011. Services impacted by the reductions include family strengthening and support services, emergency shelter care, Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, recruitment, training, and home studies for prospective resource family homes, Ohana Conferencing and training for CWS staff.
CWS reviewed all of its existing services and service contracts before making any decisions regarding reductions. In that process, CWS examined contract expenditures and utilization over the past two years and duplicate services. Some providers, whose services are not being eliminated, may experience a cutback in funds.
“The decision to reduce funding and terminate some of our CWS programs was not easy,” according to DHS Director Patricia McManaman. “Although the economy is improving, state revenue is still lagging. McManaman emphasized that, “essential services will not be jeopardized, nor will Hawaii’s children and families be exposed to harm.”
DHS will continue to fulfill its mission, in partnership with families and the community, to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of children and families experiencing child abuse and neglect or who are at high risk.
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