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Thursday, October 13, 2016
Djou: My Plan To Create More Affordable Housing
By Rep Charles Djou @ 7:51 PM :: 5435 Views :: Honolulu County, Cost of Living

My Plan To Create More Affordable Housing

From, October 13, 2016

Through the campaign I've had the privilege of meeting a number of experts on homelessness in Hawaii. They tell me that one of the significant drivers of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing. I've also met so many young people on the campaign trail, who graduated from college, work hard, and are still unable to buy their first home.  

As mayor, my plan to create more affordable housing is to, first, complete an affordable housing plan for our city so we have a clear direction and commitment to providing affordable housing.  It's impossible to get anywhere unless you know where you're going.  The city must provide clear direction to developers and should not accept fees in lieu of affordable housing development unless those fees will be dedicated to creation of affordable housing. 

Second, we need to eliminate the waste and mismanagement in our affordable housing program so that federal funds are used appropriately.  Unfortunately, under the current administration, the City has mismanaged tens of millions of dollars in affordable housing funds.

Third, as I discussed yesterday at the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement mayoral forum, I would like to explore working with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to provide more affordable housing.  DHHL has land. The city has federal affordable housing funds. Let's figure out a way to work together.

And, fourth, we need to look for creative options to incentivize development of affordable housing.  I have been working with affordable housing experts, including Peter Savio, to craft policies to actually create affordable housing. An example is "equity build" rental units, which will provide families a path to home ownership by offering them a chance to save for their own down payment.  Tenants will pay rent, and as they do, the equity the unit gains will go into an escrow account for the tenant instead of to the landlord for profit. This type of city project would create value for tenants; giving tenants the value of the appreciation, amortization, and tax benefits of ownership.

Charles at a press conference with housing expert Peter Savio discussing the critical need to fix the City's sloppy handling of affordable housing and the need to provide more affordable housing for our community.


Charles K. Djou


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