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Isles getting $11.5M to fight homelessness

Honolulu Star-Advertiser; December 21, 2016

Hawaii is receiving $11.5 million in federal grants to combat homelessness as the number of homeless people continues to rise.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Tuesday the money is for shelters and programs. The amount of the grants is up slightly from last year.

HUD spokesman Ed Cabrera says the department is prioritizing programs that focus on permanent housing. The 2016 grants direct more funding to Oahu’s leeward coast, where many homeless individuals and families live.

Cabrera says that homelessness in Hawaii since 2010 has grown 36 percent, and homelessness among veterans has increased 33 percent. The number of chronically homeless individuals has doubled.

Feds allot state $1.1M to combat Zika

The Hawaii Department of Health will receive $1.1 million in Centers for Disease Control funding to fight the Zika virus, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono announced.

The funding will bolster Hawaii’s lab testing capacity as well as fund education and vector-control measures.

“Hawaii needs to be vigilant against the continued threat posed by Zika, and this funding increases the Hawaii Department of Health’s capacity to prevent and respond to a potential Zika outbreak,” Hirono said.


Governor requests $3.5 million to protect besieged ohia trees

Gov. David Ige’s recently announced budget includes $3.5 million to battle the rapid ohia death fungus on Hawaii island.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported that the money is part of a $30 million sustainability initiative that also includes expanded farm loans and improved water infrastructure.

In other Big Island projects, Ige set aside $85 million for Daniel K. Inouye Highway, also known as Saddle Road, to finish the primary connector between the east and west sides of the island.

The governor also recommitted to making Kona Airport the state’s second major Japan-Hawaii hub, adding $50 million to complete a permanent federal inspection station to allow more direct commercial flights between Kailua-Kona and Japan.


Trail set to reopen on Thursday

The Kalalau Trail on Kauai will reopen Thursday to day hikers after state crews complete a rockfall mitigation project between the trailhead at Haena and Hanakapiai Valley, 2 miles in.

The trail has been closed since Monday.

Overnight campers with a valid permit are allowed access but might experience delays, the Division of State Parks said.

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