Affordable Housing, Homelessness & Land Use

April Events

2016.04.05 Faith and Labor flyerFaith & Labor

Faith leaders: check out our Faith & Labor Forum Thursday, 4/14 from 11:30a – 1:00p at The Cathedral of St. Andrew, Honolulu. Help us lead the faith community for a better Hawai’i. Lunch will be provided; RSVP at aikeahawaii@gmail.com.

Working people–our congregations, our neighbors, our families–are working harder to make ends meet. The cost of housing and basic necessities are rising. Good, local jobs are under threat. Reverend Scott Marks, a New Haven pastor, will talk about how he’s organizing his community to fight for good jobs.

Scott Marks was born in North Carolina to a Pastor mother and Deacon father. Lured by the promise of good jobs, his family relocated to New Haven where Scott completed his education. After finding religion in 1985, Scott went on to preach gospel; he continues to pastor at New Growth Outreach ministries. Long compelled to use his strong voice for those who feel they don’t have one, Pastor Marks stepped up to represent his community in city hall as Alderman of Ward 21. As a co-founder of Connecticut Center for a New Economy (CCNE) and New Haven Rising, Scott organized and trained people from all walks of life, races, genders and religions to fight to protect their homes, jobs and communities. He organized marches and rallies, made alliances with local and national leaders, and continuously advocated on behalf of communities ravaged by poverty, violence, and inequality -and for working people everywhere. Recognizing Rev Marks’ solid leadership, UNITE HERE recruited him to serve as President of Local 226-2. The union sent him to organize in some of the country’s most difficult areas. In Las Vegas, Chicago, Washington, DC and Memphis he fought for working people to have a voice and be treated with respect. Pastor Marks rejoined the CCNE staff in 2011. He lives in New Haven with his wife Jill and their six children.

HousingHousing Now Rally Now Rally

Rally for affordable housing! Please join various churches, unions, concerned citizens, and those struggling to find decent & affordable housing as we rally at the State Capitol.

Thursday, April 21, 3pm-6pm at the Hawaii State Capital
Contact Catherine Graham — dreamaloha@hawaii.rr.com — for more information.

HOUSING NOW Action on August 4

Did you know that Hawai’i has one of the highest rates of homelessness throughout the United States?
 
Did you know that the average cost to rent a 2 bedroom apartment in Honolulu is $1,810 – which means you would need to make $31/hr to afford that rent?
 
Join us on
Tuesday, August 4th
at
Honolulu Hale
from
10AM – 3PM
 
As we urge State, and City leaders to take action and address this long standing need to create permanent, affordable housing units.
Our schedule of events are as follows:
10AM – Prayer Circle
10:15AM – 12PM: Art/Sign Making Tent
11:30AM – 1PM: Guest Speakers
(Councilwoman Kymberly Pine, Councilman Brandon Elefante, Rev. David Gierlach, Rev. Walter Brownridge, Gary Hoosier, Eric Gill, Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, Jenny Lee)
12PM – Lunch will be provided by Brother(s) Virgil and Sage of Ohana Family of the Living God
 
1:30 PM Deliver letters to Council Members, Mayor, Governor and Legislators (meet in front of Honolulu Hale)
There will be continuous sign waving throughout the day, with free lunch and drinks provided.  If you are interested in attending, and/or would like more information, please contact: Catherine Graham (catgraham48@gmail.com), or Rev. Bob Nakata (bobnakata239@aol.com).
We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, August 4th!

 

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.

 

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 Candidates Forum On Affordable Housing For Maui’s Working Families

candidatesforum

FACE Candidates Forum on Affordable Housing at Christ the King: From L to R: Deacon Stan Franco, Rev. Tasha Kama, Don Guzman, John Fitzpatrick, Ka’ala Buenconsejo, Elle Cochran, Joseph Blackburn, Nick Nikhilananda, Mike Molina, Joe Pontanilla. FACE would like to thank all of the candidates who attended this community event!

FACE Maui held a Candidate Forum October 14 for County Council candidates. The event was titled “Affordable Housing for Maui’s Working Families”.

FACE leaders Rev. Tasha Kama, Deacon Stan Franco, Napua Amina and Father Gary Colton helped lead the event which aired lived on Akaku. Thanks to Christ the King for hosting this important community event.

You can watch FACE’s Candidate Forum on Vimeo:

http://vimeo.com/109211600

FACE Acts to Protect Workforce Housing Ordinance

FACE leaders are working hard to protect and even enhance Maui’s Workforce Housing Ordinance. This is the County legislation requiring that when developers build luxury housing, that they are required to build affordable housing as well.

FACE works to protect Maui's Workforce Housing OrdinanceFACE leaders have testified, emailed and met with County Council members, recruited housing experts from around the state and from the mainland. FACE created a 30 page report on the need for Maui’s Workforce Housing Ordinance and distributed this report widely.

FACE Maui Affordable Housing & Land Use Committee Chair Napua Amina has kicked off an on-line petition to help build support for protecting Maui’s Workforce Housing Ordinance. Want to sign Napua’s petition? Go to http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/please-dont-gut-mauis.