Maui News

Bills Aim to Address Hawaiʻi’s Housing Crisis

February 5, 2021, 7:41 AM HST
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A Hawaiʻi lawmaker has introduced a number of bills in an effort to address Hawaiʻi’s housing crisis.

Senator Stanley Chang (District 9 – Hawaiʻi Kai, Kuli‘ou‘ou, Niu, ‘Āina Haina, Wai‘alae-Kahala and Diamond Head) introduced four items saying, “This COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical need for government to take this housing crisis seriously. These bills provide innovative solutions to our housing crisis and I look forward to working with my colleagues as we tackle this issue in the months ahead.” 

The bills include the following:

SB1 would establish the ALOHA homes program to help develop low-cost homes on state-owned and county-owned land in urban redevelopment sites to be sold in leasehold by the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation to qualified residents. The bill would also exempt certain land from the definition of public lands; require HHFDC to gain legislative approval before disposing of certain lands; and also require the agency to transfer a number of ALOHA homes units to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.  

SB5 would create the housing savings account system for all employees in the State. Each employer in the State would be mandated to offer to its employees the opportunity to contribute to a housing savings account through payroll deduction.  

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SB733 would designate all state-owned lands located within one mile of any rail mass transit station as important state lands to promote the development of homes priced below market rates for Hawaiʻi residents who are owner-occupants and own no other real property. The bill would also require all state and county housing policies, tax policies, land use plans, ordinances, and rules to promote the long-term viability of important housing lands.  

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SB740 would create the Department of Housing; and place the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority, Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation, the State Office of Planning, and Hawaii Public Housing Authority under the Department of Housing for administrative purposes. 

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