Think About It: Housing History - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

February 19, 2018

Think About It: Housing History

The governor wrote, "I approved the State Housing Functional Plan. This plan is based on joint public and private efforts to finance, build, and maintain an adequate supply of affordable housing for Hawaii's people. This is not a goal that will be easily or quickly attained." He also wrote that "…our plan has its shortcomings. It does not address to a sufficient degree those individuals or families who can least afford safe, decent shelter."

Strong, definitive words and an action plan. The trouble is that this foreword to an addendum to the State Housing Functional Plan was written by Governor John Waihee, and the year was 1990. The report cites an estimation of 7,000 to 9,400 homeless people throughout Hawaii on any given day. And that was 28-years ago. A 2016 report here estimated that we had 7,900 homeless people. So the number of homeless has perhaps not changed drastically in the past 28 years, but those in need are no longer hanging just under the freeways off of Nimitz Highway or communing on leeward coast beaches. They are in Kaka'ako by the UH Medical School; they're on viaducts near downtown, they're hovering around Waikiki; they're on the windward side.

So where are more mental health volunteers and real public-private partnerships in the year 2018 to provide hope and truly affordable housing? How far have we come as living costs have shot up in 28 years but disposable income has not kept pace for far too many here? A $750,000 dwelling unit is simply not "affordable"- where are the $300,000 units created through great incentives and government/private partnerships? We need 10 more Hale Kewalo and Kahauiki Villages. It seems like we're always hearing the same thing when it comes to housing: stay tuned. As The Who succinctly said 47-years ago, "meet the new boss; same as the old boss". Think about it…

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