Share your voice on housing crisis


Today I turn 74 and I thank my maker for giving me health and speech to tell anyone who would listen that we must fix the No. 1 problem facing us in Maui County — housing our people can afford to buy or rent.

Also today, the Maui County Council’s Housing, Human Concerns and Transportation Committee will take up a resolution to hire a housing consultant to create an affordable housing plan for Maui County. At the request of Faith Action for Community Equity Maui, the Maui County Council appropriated $250,000 for this work in the 2017-18 county budget.

Members of FACE Maui have had four meetings with committee Chair Stacy Crivello and her staff and a meeting with each council member to receive their input on the hiring of a housing consultant. FACE Maui held special meetings bringing together folks from Maui Tomorrow, Na Hale O Maui and the Realtors Association of Maui, among others, to develop a request for qualifications document (a copy is available at tasha@facehawaii. com) to be used in the hiring process.

After all the discussions, FACE Maui recommended that a committee made up of representatives from our nonprofit organizations like Na Hale O Maui, Lohaki Pacific, Hale Mahaolu and FACE Maui serve to screen and recommend the housing consultant to be hired by the Maui County Council. The reasons for a community committee to select the housing consultant are transparency, accountability and selection by knowledgeable persons in the affordable housing business.

FACE Maui believes that the housing consultant’s major work on creating an affordable housing plan would be the following:

1. Establish a one-stop county contact for affordable housing projects.

2. Create a bank of lands and vacant buildings.

3. Recommend changes to existing county law or propose new county law to incentivize the development of affordable housing.

4. Encourage construction savings by proposing new methods or techniques.

To do this work, we recommended that the consultant demonstrate past accomplishments in planning, building and/or managing affordable housing, have an ability to create the plan within a year, be publicly recognized for past affordable housing projects, and has knowledge of construction and land use practices and law in Hawaii.

I believe that we must do this right because we do not have too many opportunities to create a road map, which we do not have, to follow in building homes which our people can buy or rent at the incomes they earn in Maui County so that they can stay here. We all know of family members who have moved to the Mainland to find housing that fit their budget. If we do not find an answer soon, our children and grandchildren will not be able to live in this place which we all have worked so hard to preserve for them as our ancestors have done for us.

You now have an opportunity to make your voice heard — come to the Housing, Human Concerns and Transportation Committee meeting today at 2:30 p.m. on the eighth floor of the county building and testify, call Crivello’s office at 270-7678 or send an email to hht.committe

Share your voice on Maui County’s housing crisis. Generations who will come after us depend on us to act now. We can!

* Stan Franco is co-chair of the Faith Action for Community Equity Maui Housing Committee.