Molina Addresses ‘Crisis-Level’ Affordable Housing Need

September 24, 2019, 3:53 PM HST · Updated September 27, 8:52 AM
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Councilmember Michael J. Molina has a new plan that might expand affordable housing opportunities for Maui families. 

Molina, chair of the councilʻs Governance, Ethics, and Transparency Committee, announced today that he is proposing a resolution to divide the Department of Housing and Human Concerns into two separate departments. 

The councilmember hopes that establishing a Department of Housing and Department of Human Concerns will expand the powers of each entity to “better address the human needs of our constituency.”

“We need to escalate our focus because we are falling way behind the demand for affordable housing,” Molina said in a press release. 

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“The bifurcation of the DHHC will allow the administration to focus specifically on housing matters and the creation of affordable housing.”

Under the proposed resolution, the department of housing would be responsible for creating affordable housing units, developing a comprehensive county housing plan, and promoting new housing opportunities for homeless families.  

There are 30 housing employees and 113 human concerns employees listed in the department’s 2020 budget. 

“Due to the department’s size, separation should allow staff to provide more emphasis on their respective subject matter,” Molina continued.  

Housing programs receive a total of $55 million in appropriated funds. 

Molina claims that separating the department could allow each program to better serve their areas of concern, as each program currently has “broad and vitally important responsibilities.”

“The need for affordable housing has achieved crisis levels, therefore any action that can help to increase the focus for creating affordable housing is essential,” Molina said. 

“Enough with the talk, it’s time to call for action, the time for action is now.” 

The proposed resolution will be vetted among GET Committee members before being sent to the full council. 

If approved, the resolution is expected to be placed on the 2020 General Election ballot.

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