Families who've lived here for generations are leaving Hawaii because they can't afford housing and food. The cost of living in Hawaii is amongst the highest in the nation and every day many families struggle just to get by.
The people of Hawaii need more truly affordable housing. I've long advocated building up--rather than out--on Oahu to make the most of our limited space, preserving as much open space and agricultural land as possible.
The people of Hawaii are being priced out of the housing market. We've become a playground for the wealthy--condos/homes sell for millions, yet sit empty 90% of the time, and other homes are used as vacation rentals, increasing the price for all of Hawaii's housing.
Vast shortages of affordable housing nationwide, especially in states like Hawaii, make it increasingly difficult for families with limited resources to find a safe place to live, to put food on the table, and to make basic ends meet.
One result of this is increasing numbers of homeless individuals and families. In some of Hawaii's more rural communities, homelessness has increased by over 46% in the last two years.
I'll continue to advocate for more affordable housing units through public and private projects, discouraging housing and land speculation, ensuring "affordable" housing units are actually affordable, and stay that way--not flipped and sold for profit (like the scandal occurring now in Kakaako).
We need to take action to better serve our most vulnerable populations, by streamlining many of the regulations that burden families in Hawaii and across the country, and increasing flexibility to empower state and local housing agencies, as well as private owners/developers, to develop new housing units, and creating new housing options in areas where housing vouchers are difficult to use. This housing shortage is a crisis that will require every level of government, the private sector, and community taking action towards a solution.