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Too Many Families Struggle to Afford Housing in Hawaiʻi

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The number of working families who can’t keep up with the cost of living is growing across the state, according to testimony heard Wednesday by the Honolulu City Council.

It starts with research put together by the Aloha United Way, which says 42% of Hawaiʻi’s households can be classified as ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited Income Constrained and Employed.

ALICE families have fully employed adults, but cannot afford the cost of living.

Due to the high unemployment rate, the number of ALICE families is estimated to increase by 35,000 additional households by the end of the year.

Many long-time residents leave Hawaiʻi because they are no longer able to afford the high cost of housing.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Honolulu needs over 22,000 housing units by 2025 to accommodate all residents. At the current pace of infrastructure, the 2025 demand will be met in 2041.

The Honolulu City Council is looking into federal funding to invest in critical island infrastructure.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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