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New housing approaches to help working families

Posted on Jan 30, 2020 in Capitol Connection, Featured
The groundbreaking in November for Mutual Housing's Kulia at Ho'opili, an affordable rental project.

The groundbreaking in November for Mutual Housing’s Kulia at Ho’opili, an affordable rental project.

In Hawaiʻi, the biggest expense for working families is housing, whether it’s rent or mortgage payments. The spiraling cost of homes is driven by two forces: the high cost of land and real estate speculation. In our joint package of bills, we propose to build 17,000 affordable homes over the next decade on state-owned land in partnership with private developers.

The homes would be sold as leasehold, effectively removing the biggest cost for developers: land. That, in turn, will dramatically bring down the price of the homes they build. Moreover, as the landlord, the state will be able to keep these homes affordable while allowing leaseholders to reasonably share in the equity when they are ready to sell. In this way, we can ensure that the leasehold property stays affordable forever.

As part of our joint package on housing, we are also proposing to invest $200 million for roads and infrastructure to stimulate interest in UH housing development plans for its West Oʻahu campus.  We are also proposing to provide $75 million for affordable housing on the neighbor islands.

This joint package works hand-in-hand with the progress we made together to make low- and middle-income rental units available to our working families. This not only provides for their immediate housing needs but helps them save for the day when they can buy a home of their own.

The Durretts: From an affordable rental to home ownership

The Durretts became homeowners with savings from their affordable rental.

The Durretts became homeowners with savings from their affordable rental.

Six years ago, Krysyan and Kahi Durrett, both born and raised in Hawai‘i, were like a lot of young couples dreaming of coming home to the islands. They started out living with family when Jonathan was offered a full-time job here. But with three young children, they knew their living arrangement would no longer work. Fortunately, they were able to qualify for an affordable rental in Ewa Beach, built by Mutual Housing with state assistance. That allowed the Durretts to save enough money for a down payment on a home of their own.

“Had it not been for affordable housing projects like Ko‘oloa‘ula, we wouldn’t be able to raise our children here,” said Krysyan. “We want to thank the governor, legislators and community leaders who are building affordable housing so many more young families can make Hawai‘i their home.”

Read more in the February Capitol Connection newsletter

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