The cost of housing in Hawai’i is incredibly high. Several indices put it as the most expensive housing market in America. A large proportion of Hawai’i’s residents are cost-burdened, meaning that they spend at least 30 percent of their income on housing. While developers continue to build high-end, luxury housing and hotel properties, the housing needs of low-income and middle-class families and Hawai’i residents are neglected.

The housing crisis has tangentially led to a homeless crisis, particularly on O’ahu. Hawai’i Appleseed currently works through legislative and court advocacy and policy research to ensure that affordable housing needs are met throughout the state and that both the government and private developers pay attention to residents’ right to live in a safe, clean environment that they can afford. Hawai‘i Appleseed also seeks to be a resource for community groups, administrative agencies, governmental entities, and other non-profit organizations that want to understand how housing laws and policies can be used to improve the state of public housing projects and affordable housing in general in Hawai‘i.



We are currently working with Aloha United Way and the State of Hawai’i Homeless Programs Office to produce a report on entryways to homelessness in the state of Hawai’i. The report looks at three different ways that people may become homeless – discharge from hospitals, prisons, and foster care — and determines the potential risk factors for each sub-population.

We consistently and ardently advocate at both the local and state levels to promote affordable housing and ensure that state and local governments follow their legal commitments to provide affordable housing and adequate public housing. Examples include:

  • Ensuring habitable living conditions in public housing, such as the Mayor Wright and Kuhio Park projects on Oʻahu. Hawaii Appleseed led efforts to ensure the State of Hawaiʻi provided adequate living conditions were provided to the residents of these projects.
  • Advocating for innovative approaches to affordable housing and introducing new models to the state of Hawaiʻi. For example, Hawaiʻi Appleseed successfully advocated for a new 104 micro-unit apartment building, which will provide more affordable housing and is the first of its kind in Hawaiʻi.
  • Ensuring that transit-oriented development works for all income levels and guaranteeing that affordable units are available close to transit centers.
  • Preserve affordable housing units both on Oʻahu and neighbor islands.