Nonprofit community development organization, Hawaiian Community Assets, has delivered a Comprehensive Affordable Housing Plan to the Maui County Council that provides a roadmap for building 5,000 affordable homes for local renters and homebuyers in the next five years.
The plan was developed by a team of 19 planners, engineers, data and policy analysts, attorneys, and community development professionals that were assembled by HCA. The HCA team responded to a request for proposal by the Office of Council Services issued August 2020 requesting a contractor to assess the availability of government and private lands for development of affordable housing and provide guidance on decision-making for specific projects and strategies to develop 5,000 units affordable for local households below 120% area median income in the next five years.
“[HCA] shares our aloha and deepest mahalo with our partners in this work, but it has been the community members on Maui, Molokai, and Lanai who we owe the greatest gratitude. They have brought forward solutions and opportunities inform the plan to bring truly affordable homes the local people who need it the most,” said HCA Executive Director, Jeff Gilbreath. “It is clear the current affordable housing system is delivering the type and price of homes it has been setup to do. We need a new affordable housing system that ensures homes are affordable for local residents at all income levels. If we continue as-is, we will continue to see our need for affordable housing grow.”
According to the plan, Maui County’s current affordable housing system is not meeting the needs of Maui County residents. From 2016 to 2020, only 20% of the housing need for local residents below 140% AMI was met. The majority of rentals built went to households at 50% to 60% AMI and for-sale homes went to households above 100% AMI, according to the HCA.
“Under the current affordable housing system, there are few tools available to the county to meet the needs of extremely and very low-income households (below 50% AMI) and low- and moderate-income households (between 61% and 100% AMI),” the HCA states.
“The current system has segregated affordable housing at two levels. We leave those renters below 50% AMI and homebuyers between 61% and 100% AMI with no place to go, because of how we incentivize the building of affordable homes. This plan shows that we are not beholden to a system that fails to deliver for the majority of our families, but instead shares how we can create a new affordable housing system that responds to the real needs of our residents by making long overdue investments in our greatest assets – our local communities and our local people,” added Gilbreath.
The HCA contends that, “Decades long lack of public investment in housing supports for these extremely- and very low-income renters and low-income homebuyers along with community serving infrastructure, stand as the key barriers in the way of delivering affordable homes to 5,000 Maui County residents.”
The plan estimates a need for $380 million in investments by the County in off-site infrastructure for local communities and $789 million in housing supports to local residents as necessary to unlock 39 priority projects that will address the real demand under for housing under 120% AMI according to the 2019 Hawaiʻi Housing Planning Study.
The plan will be presented to the Maui County Council Affordable Housing Committee on July 19.
To view the plan, its executive summary, and priority projects, visit https://sites.google.com/view/mauihousingplangPlan.org.
An affordable housing rally will be held on July 19 at noon to 1 p.m. Rally organizers invite participants to join at Ka‘ahumanu Church in Wailuku and Ka‘ahumanu Avenue fronting the Queen Kaahumanu Center in Kahului. “The purpose of the Rally is to call County government to come together to build the homes that our people need and can afford to buy or rent,” according to organizers.
On July 19 at 1:30 p.m., the Affordable Housing Committee of the Maui County Council will review the just-released Comprehensive Affordable Housing Plan. The plan was created by Hawaiian Community Assets through a $300,000 county contract. The Plan can be accessed at www.mauihousingplan.org.
Assistance to provide remote testimony to the Affordable Housing Committee meeting will be provided on the Ka‘ahumanu Church grounds. The event is being sponsored by Stand Up Maui, Maui Tomorrow and Share Your Mana.