“Sustainability, in its broadest sense, touches every aspect of our lives. It’s housing, jobs, education, the environment and our people’s well-being. I believe if we work together as a community we can achieve our goals.” — Governor David Y. Ige
A home we can afford, a living wage, an island community protected and preserved. These are some of the basics Governor Ige and his team are focusing on to create a more “sustainable” Hawai‘i for all of us. This edition provides an update on how the state’s programs are working together to move us forward.
MORE AFFORDABLE housing built statewide, with 8,700 units completed (more than 62 percent affordable), 3,200 under construction and thousands more planned, thanks to state initiatives. “Since 2015, we have used state funds to attract private partners so we can build housing local residents can afford,” said the governor. “Now we can see that plan is working.”
- More low- to middle-income rental units available – The lower rents help working families save for the future. “Reserved housing” policies also help local families buy a unit at reduced rates in a market-rate building.
- Public housing access improved -The Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority is streamlining its application process and working on projects to expand affordable senior rentals and new models for public housing.
HOMELESSNESS: Statewide solutions launched – More people moved from homelessness to homes – In 2019, more than 7,000 individuals statewide were counseled, placed and moved off the streets.
- More people helped through LEAD program – The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program has expanded statewide. Instead of arrests, the program has reduced drug use and emergency room visits and increased housing placement.
- ‘Ohana Zone funds expand shelters, housing – $30 million in legislative funds launched new 2019 programs in Hilo and Kona, the Homeless Outreach and Navigation to the Unsheltered (HONU) program and Kumuwai, a new O‘ahu rental project for seniors who earn no more than 50 percent of Area Median Income. Vouchers using ‘Ohana Zone funds are helping with rental costs. More housing projects for Maui and Kaua‘i are planned in 2020.
- Kauhale village concept advances – The lieutenant governor’s office is developing a kauhale village concept
that combines low-cost housing, such as tiny homes, with shared facilities and support services.
DHHL waitlist reduced, options increased – More housing choices offered through the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands with turnkey homes and vacant lots for beneficiaries to build a home suitable to their needs.
- The first Subsistence Agricultural Homestead lots are advancing for South Hilo to encourage family and community self-sufficiency through farming.
- New DHHL rules for affordable rentals will continue to expand options for beneficiaries across the islands.