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Kauaʻi event invited landlords to 'overcome stigma' of low-income renters

Pacific Air Forces

The nonprofit Leadership Kauaʻi partnered with the county's housing agency to host the island's second Landlord Summit last week.

The event covered topics such as housing vouchers, tax credits and fair housing regulation updates. The aim was to connect landlords and property managers to nonprofit and county resources to help bring up discussions of housing homeless or low-income residents.

"We often see a hesitancy in landlords and property managers in renting to very low-income individuals or individuals who are receiving government assistance, because it has a certain stigma attached to it," said Adam Roversi, the director of Kauaʻi County's housing agency.

Roversi told HPR the goal of the event is to overcome that stigma property owners may have.

Rental assistance in the county dramatically increased during the pandemic. Roversi said the county increased its housing voucher program by 20%, and many local households rely on it. Other programs, such as rental assistance, are still functioning.

"As a result of COVID, I think some of the financial resources available under these programs have increased," Roversi said.

The summit also discussed the state's fair housing law, and county programs incentivizing landlords to house vulnerable residents. One is a subsidy program to build accessory dwelling units.

"Our county council created a subsidy program that gives up to $20,000 per unit in dollar benefits to landlords who are willing to build one of these additional rental units on their existing property, and offer it to lower-income individuals," Roversi said.

More information about housing programs and resources can be found online at kauai.gov/housing, or by visiting the county's planning department in person.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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