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: