Even if you have a house, your children need to be able to afford a house someday, your employees need housing, your childrens’ teachers need housing … the high cost of housing affects us all.
30 years ago, my husband and I were able to purchase our first home with a federal low income loan and it was the start we needed to get to where we are today. We were a young married couple, pregnant with our first child, when we qualified for a FmHA loan which allowed us to establish roots in South Maui with a small 750 sf home in north Kihei. Due to my second pregnancy, we expanded the house too quickly for the mandatory residency time so we refinanced and paid back all the interest as required. We still live in our Kihei house and are so thankful for the assistance that was there when we truly needed it.
I want that for all families on Maui. I want to work with developers, realtors and those in need of affordable housing to identify funding and create assistance for affordable homes and affordable rentals. Already in my campaigning efforts, I have spoken with developers who have great ideas and want to help. It is imperative that we all work together so that develop can continue in a way that contributes to communities and is welcomed instead of vilified.
Addressing local concerns
According to the US Census, the median income per capita on Maui was $33,792. Currently, the median cost of a home on Maui is close to $800,000. The disparity between the two makes absolutely no sense. If Maui is considered one of the most sought after destinations in the world by people at the highest income levels, surely it is reasonable that residents should be able to afford to live here with an appropriate quality of life.
A healthy balance between the two can only be fair. Many of those who permanently reside in Maui nui essentially support the ability of others to maintain an otherwise unaffordable standard of living. They should be able to afford a reasonable standard of living, commensurate with their income. Economic diversity should provide the opportunity to increase that opportunity.
My focus on community involvement has shown that we can develop affordable rental projects with community support if we address local concerns. The Kaiwahine Village project is the best example of how we can all work together to get this done quickly without protests and legal challenges.
Kaiwahine Village is an affordable rental project in North Kihei that was completed earlier this year and houses folks at 60% and under AMI levels. For multifamily housing on Maui, that means an income of $58,500 and below. I have worked with this same developer to support two additional projects, one in West Maui and another one in Central Kihei. In addition, I am supporting three new workforce development projects and a senior affordable housing project in my district.
I’ve been working on another policy change that provides a tax credit for landlords who rent affordable units long-term to residents.
Together with the entire County Council, this year I've been successful in getting approval on another affordable housing project in South Maui. Our Council has also been successful in getting approval for projects in West Maui as well.
Liloa Hale Senior Rental Housing Project plans to construct a three-story apartment building with 117 units.
The project is expected to include 101 one-bedroom apartments, five of which will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. There will also be 16 two-bedroom apartments, including one unit that is compliant with the ADA.
Seniors earning 60% and below the area, median income, established by the Department of Housing and Human Concerns guidelines, will be eligible to rent.
The Hale Kaiola duplex is expected to have 40 affordable units. The project will include two- and three-bedroom apartments, ranging from 731 square feet (68 square meters) to 1,240 square feet (115 square meters), with prices ranging from $295,000 to $650,000.
Residents earning between 80% and 140% of the area median income will be eligible to apply. For multifamily housing, that would mean an income of $78,000 to $136,500.
I’ve been working on another policy change that provides a tax credit for landlords who rent affordable units long-term to residents. I am committed to maintaining our quality of life and the long term sustainability of all of Maui nui.