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Push policies to allow more homes

Push policies to allow more homes 

POSTED on StarAdvertiser.com: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 19, 2014

So much demand, so little supply. That’s the dire bottom line when it comes to truly affordable housing for Hawaii’s families — and unless work on policy changes begins today to address the shortfall, a growing number of keiki o ka aina of this and future generations will be forced out of Hawaii.

This alarm in the local housing crisis was sounded at Saturday’s daylong Housing Summit, focusing on how to produce and retain housing, especially rentals, that local workers can afford. It drew some 220 people with diverse interests, including government officials, politicians, developers and ministers.

A gamut of things must start taking root today — including the political will and leadership to drive harder bargains to produce housing that more closely reflects Hawaii’s working-family realities. Some 24,000 more housing units are needed in the coming years, with three-fourths of that needed for those earning less than 80 percent of area median income (AMI), or about $76,650 for a family of four.

Essential will be creative thinking as well as favorable eyes on new options, such as:

» Easing restrictions on Oahu homeowners on the number and types of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, allowed on their property.

Now gaining momentum in the City Council and city administration, this idea to help address the affordable rental demand would open the ADUprocess to more neighborhoods, allow for detached-unit ADUs, and make units available to nonrelatives. Under current “ohana zoning” allowed in certain Oahu neighborhoods, an ADU must be attached or part of an existing dwelling, and be occupied by relatives.

More discussion will be needed, of course, on the ramifications of easing ADU rules: How far it should go and what parameters should be set so as not to unduly burden and disrupt residential neighborhoods. But it’s a concept worth pursuing, and the Caldwell administration rightly sees it as a major component of its Islandwide Housing Strategy.

» Increasing the length of time that affordable units must remain affordable, and lowering the definition of “affordable” and “reserved” housing.

Currently, government mostly requires that affordability be retained anywhere between just five to 15 years; that needs to increase to at least 30 to 60 years, as boldly proposed by the city administration. Also, project approvals should be conditioned with a higher percentage of units in the target 80 percent AMI range.

In Kakaako, the “reserved housing” definition is too high: up to 140 percent of AMI. It is here, in fact, that Gov.-elect David Ige has publicly pledged more help for working families.

 

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FACE Interfaith Service on Long Term Care — Transcript

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27 October 2014, 6-7:30 p.m.
St. Elizabeth Episcopal Church; Honolulu, Hawaii
By: Dr. Clementina D. Ceria-Ulep

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, honored guests:

My name is Clementina Ceria-Ulep, a parishioner of Our Lady
of the Mount (OLM) Catholic Church in Kalihi Valley, and laity vice-president
of Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE) and an
associate professor and chair of the Department of Nursing at the
University of Hawaii School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene. It is an
honor and a privilege to be here with you this evening to talk about an
issue that is very dear to me and a concern to us all—long-term care.
Before I proceed, let me define the word “long term care.” Long-term
care is the umbrella term for the various supportive services used by
persons who need assistance to function in their daily lives. Long
term care services include nursing, home health, and personal care;
rehabilitation, adult day care, case management, social services,
assistive technology and living services. My interest on this issue
stems from my experiences while growing up and during my practice
as a nurse.

 

Long-term care is the umbrella term for the various supportive services used by
persons who need assistance to function in their daily lives.

 

My family was fortunate to immigrate to Hawaii from the
Philippines through the kindness of uncle Lawrence, a plantation
worker in the early 1900’s. In the Philippines, my family and I lived
first with my paternal and then later with my maternal grandparents.
My paternal grandfather then in his 90’s, helped my father in the farm
while the rest of my grandparents supervised the home–cooking,
cleaning, caring, and disciplining of the grandchildren. I remember
that our grandparents ruled their homes and were revered by their
children and grandchildren. To this day as my family and friends will
tell you, I am quite fanatic about keeping the house clean, a legacy
from my grandmothers.
Growing up, my first exposure to the issue of long-term care
was through my parish’s involvement in providing volunteer care for
the residents of Beverly Manor, a nursing home near Kalihi Valley
Homes. Once a week, our youth group–Junior Filipino Catholic Club,
visited and worked with the residents on arts and crafts projects. I
recall spending five years as a volunteer at Beverly Manor, where
loneliness seemed to be the order of the day. Over time, I got used
to the atmosphere. Then one day, I invited a high school friend to
accompany me on a visit to Beverly Manor. On our ride back home, 3
my friend cried all the way. She sobbed, “That’s so sad…I would
never put my grandparents or parents in a care home!” How many of
you, during your first visit to a nursing home, made the same
promise—not to put your parents in such a “horrible” place, but ended
up doing so because you simply could not help it?
While studying in Virginia, I befriended Helen who lived alone
and was in her early 90’s. She used to treat some students and I to a
musical play. One day, she broke one of her hips and became
dependent on others. Every day, I would visit and administer her
vitamin B injection. When she moved to a care home, she had to sell
all her prized possessions and used her lifetime savings to pay for
nursing home.

…she had to sell all her prized possessions and used her lifetime savings to pay for her nursing home.

 

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HCIR Media Event Thanks President Obama for Executive Action

On November 21, Hawaii Coalition for Immigrant Rights/Immigration Reform (HCIR) held a media event at Harris United Methodist Church. The purpose of the event was to thank President Obama for taking Executive Action which will extend temporary opportunities to an estimated 7,000 Hawai’i residents, in addition to 5 million residents in the wider United States.

Photography by Shaun Campbell
clarehanuszHCIR

 

Attorney Clare Hanusz explains who will be eligible to benefit from President Obama’s Executive Action.
JohnEgan
Attorney John Egan lists the various ways all of us will benefit from the Executive Action

 

leaders

FACE and HCIR leaders and community supporters gather before the altar of FACE unit Harris Church to give thanks for the civil rights extended to family members of US Citizens and Legal Residents.

Affordable housing summit draws hundreds to State Capitol

By Ben Gutierrez

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) –There’s been a lot of attention given to new condominium construction in areas like Kakaako, but how many people can actually afford some of those units? That was a question tackled by a summit on affordable housing at the State Capitol.”There’s a lot of discussion about the high-end housing we see going up in the urban core,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. ” and people are wondering, ‘Hey, what about housing for the rest of us?'”Many of those people showed up at Saturday’s summit organized by Faith Action for Community Equity, also known as FACE.

There was some discussion about the homeless, with one possible solution coming in the form of renovated container units, turned into housing.

“We need to take away the stigma of homeless housing away from the subject,” said Craig Chapman of Lanihuli Community Development Corporation, which has been building the container homes. “What we’re really trying to look at now is how can we get the working poor families get back into their community.”

But it’s not just the working poor or homeless. It includes the middle class as well, according to organizers.

“Your nurses, your firemen, your policemen, people you don’t necessarily consider ‘needy’ that actually struggle with affordable housing,” said James Fitzpatrick of Hawaii Health Connector and a community organizer with FACE.

Right now, 30 percent of new housing projects must be affordable for people making 140 percent of the area’s median income, or about $134,000 for a family of four. According to the Honolulu Board of Realtors, the median sales price for a single-family home in Honolulu last month was $690,000.

Building housing that’s more affordable will be a challenge for a variety of reasons, including community opposition.

“When you try to build an affordable housing project in a community, you oftentimes run into NIMBY’s who don’t want you to build it there for many different reasons,” said John White of Pacific Resource Partnership.

But the discussion has begun, and organizers are hopeful.

“People have been talking about this for a very long time,” said Fitzpatrick. “So the step after talking — we need to have actions and decisions.”

View videos and more photos over on the HawaiiNewsNow page: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/27395936/affordable-housing-summit-draws-hundreds-to-state-capitol

Summit will seek solutions to Hawaii’s housing crisis

By Rev. John Heidel

POSTED on StarAdvertiser.com: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 12, 2014

The housing crisis in Hawaii has increased to such an alarming situation that every citizen needs to respond in at least two ways.

First, become informed about the reality of this crisis, and second, become involved in implementing the solutions.

The interfaith organization Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE) has been collecting information for a Nov. 15 Housing Summit that will be very helpful in both areas.

We have been interviewing local community leaders and a few people on the mainland and are ready to share the results.

What we’ve learned so far has highlighted the pervasive nature of this crisis in housing and has underlined an urgency that can no longer be ignored.

SUMMIT DETAILS

>> What: FACE Housing Summit
>> When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
>> Where: State Capitol auditorium
>> Details: Panels on affordable renting, affordable owning, the houseless situation, financial and economic concerns, transit-oriented development, renewable energy and housing, and the future of housing. Mayor Kirk Caldwell will be keynote speaker. Free.

There are many indications of why this needs immediate action:

» The city’s concept of “affordable housing” needs redefining.

The current definition is based on earning 80-140 percent ($6,388-$11,178 a month) of area median income (AMI), and yet 75 percent of those in need of housing earn less than 80 percent AMI (ranging from full-time minimum wage of $1,160 to $4,000 a month).

» The economic gap between earning potential and the cost of housing is increasing and is already at a state of emergency.

With rentals typically priced at $900-$2,500 for a studio or 1-2 bedroom, 75 percent of workers cannot find affordable housing.

» We have a diminishing “middle class” being forced out of affordable living. Hawaii’s housing market and retail shops show a changing culture that targets a clientele of the very rich while those of a middle to lower income are frozen out.

» More than 200,000 Hawaii residents are among the “hidden houseless” — living with family or friends and just one argument away from being without shelter.

» The profit motive of some developers and general inflation have increased the cost of housing beyond the reach of most residents.

» It is becoming increasingly difficult for our young people to remain in the islands.

» Many businesses are finding it difficult to attract and retain qualified employees.

Many of our congregations provide food and transitional shelter to the houseless, but we have always realized these efforts were only serving as Band-Aids to a much larger concern. Clearly, the real issue is affordability.

Perhaps one of the obstacles to our having a clear picture of the current crisis is the way some economists describe a healthy economy. Regularly, when offering an economic forecast, they refer to the rising cost of housing as a sign of a robust, growing economy.

We see this as an unethical barometer. Shelter should not be just a privilege for the rich but a right of every person.

All of us — including our city and state governments — have a moral and civic responsibility to provide housing for everyone — but especially for those in the lower income brackets and those with particular needs; i.e., victims of substance abuse and mental disabilities.

On Saturday, learn more about this housing crisis, and add your energy and experience to the implementation of some solutions.

Join this community-wide discussion of developers, government officials and concerned citizens to help solve our housing crisis.

FACE’s Hawaii Coalition For Immigration Reform Accepts HSBA Award

IkenaAwardThe Hawaii Coalition for Immigration Reform (HCIR), sponsored by FACE, was awarded the ‘Ikena Award by the Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA).  The ‘Ikena Award  recognizes outstanding service to the public toward legal education.  Claudia Lara and Stan Bain represented HCIR at the HSBA convention luncheon to receive the Koa bowl award on Oct. 24.

In other Hawaii immigration reform news, FACE/HCIR hosted the Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center and hosted briefing for State Senate and House staffers on marked licenses and other state-level immigration reforms.

FACE Maui will host the Mexican Consulate Saturday, November 15 at St. Theresa Church in Kihei. To schedule an appointment, please call: 1 (877) 639-4835.

Kilohana Angels Home Care Cooperative

Kilohana Angels Home Care Cooperative held a huge community Kilohana Angelscelebration and fundraiser in September. Kilohana Angles is the only worker-owned cooperative on Oahu.

Kilohana Angels began as a vision and ministry of Kilohana United Methodist Church to provide training and job opportunities for an unskilled minority population of women to meet an identified need in the community.

For more information about Kilohana Angels Home Care Cooperative, contact Rev. Alan Mark or Tiala Toe’tu’u at (808) 722-4188.

 

 

Campaign Corner: No on Ballot Measure 4

In 2012, FACE’s Education Team fought to protect junior kindergarten, giving the state time to come up with a better plan for our keiki.  In September 2014, FACE hosted Dr. Cliff Tanabe of the UH Education Department, Joan Husted former HSTA Exec Director and members of Parents for Public Schools to debate the value of “Question 4”, the constitutional amendment that would allow public funds to be spent on private early childhood education programs.

At the end of the session, the group voted to recommend a “no” vote on the amendment. FACE leader Mary Weir explains her reservations about Amendment #4 in her October 28 Op Ed in Civil Beat.


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