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The Aloha Friday Conversation: Seizing affordable housing opportunities in Hawai’i

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Sandee Oshiro/HPR
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AFFORDABLE HOUSING NEEDS:

  • Kenna StormoGipson, Director of Housing Policy at the Hawaiʻi Budget and Policy Center (part of Hawaiʻi Appleseed), outlines Hawaiʻi's housing market.
  • Maui's Housing Plan was formulated under the leadership of Hawaiian Community Assets, a housing counseling agency. Jeff Gilbreath is its interim Executive Director. The plan is designed to achieve 5,000 affordable homes in five years.
  • Researcher Arjuna Heim works for the housing arm of Hawaiʻi Appleseed. Heim worked on the Maui Housing Plan and says a statewide Affordable Housing Coalition is being formed to push affordable housing priorities in the 2022 legislative session.

GETTING CONNECTED:

  • Scott Morishige, the governor's Coordinator on Homelessness, underlines the need to get connected. In the thick of the pandemic, over a hundred service providers and concerned individuals were tuning into homeless webinars, held weekly.
  • Finding a place to rent is tougher than ever in Hawaiʻi. Jack, name withheld to avoid retaliation, is a father and member of the Honolulu Tenants Union Organizing Committee. The organization helps inform the public about your rights as a tenant.

SERVICE PROVIDERS TACKLE HOUSELESS ISSUES:

  • Laura Thielen is Executive Director of Partners in Care — the network of houseless services on Oʻahu. She talks about the need to keep people in the homes they have.
  • Executive Director of the Institute of Human Services, Connie Mitchell, recently spoke at the Hawaii Book and Music Festival where she made a case for permanent ongoing support for people who qualify for affordable housing.
  • Foo Pham is with the Housing Now committee of Faith Action for Community Equity. He talks about the Empty Homes Tax.

SOLUTIONS:

  • Manager Rhonda Alexander-Monkres of the Maui Financial Opportunity Center (an arm of Hawaiian Community Assets) helps people get ready to buy homes that are being made available at prices people can afford.
  • Kenna StormoGipson, Director of Housing Policy at the Hawaiʻi Budget and Policy Center (part of Hawaiʻi Appleseed), shares how housing advocates on all the islands are mobilizing to address the housing shortage.
  • Founder Jim Edmonds is president of Permanently Affordable Living (PAL) Kauaʻi, is passionate about helping generations of people live affordably.
Noe Tanigawa covers art, culture, and ideas for Hawai'i Public Radio. Noe began working in news at WQXR, the New York Times' classical station in New York City, where she also hosted music programs from 1990-94. Prior to New York, Noe was a music host in jazz, rock, urban contemporary, and contemporary and classic Hawaiian music formats in Honolulu. Since arriving at HPR in 2002, Noe has received awards from the Los Angeles Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists Hawai'i Chapter, and an Edward R. Murrow Regional Award for coverage of the budget process at the Hawai'i State Legislature. Noe holds a Masters in Painting from UH Mānoa. She maintains an active painting practice, and has recently returned from a 2015 residency with the U.S. Art in Embassies program in Palau. Noe is from Wailupe Valley in East O'ahu.
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