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Kaua‘i Councilmember on Affordable Housing, Wealthy Property Owners


The Conversation spoke to a Kaua‘i County councilmember about the island's housing market and the population of people experiencing homelessness. Kaua’i has been working on affordable housing with communities like Ke Alaula, Pua Loke in Līhuʻe and Waimea Huaka‘i. About 500 people are estimated to be experiencing homelessness on Kaua‘i.

County Councilmember Felicia Cowden said 500 could be just a fraction of the real number. An educator with experience in youth outreach, Cowden chairs the Public Safety and Human Services Committee and has a particular interest in homeless issues. She said Kaua’i is making slow progress, but the one emergency shelter on the island currently fits 19 people.

Cowden said the average selling price of a house has gone up nearly $400,000 dollars in one year. Meanwhile, HPR asked Cowden if there is any shelter provided for people when the county’s shelter in place zones are cleared.

This story aired on The Conversation on June 18, 2021.

Noe Tanigawa covered art, culture and ideas for two decades at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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