Multipronged strategy needed on housing issues

The Maui County Council’s Policy & Intergovernmental Committee met recently to hear testimony on charter amendment revision recommendations.

I testified representing GO Maui Inc., a nonprofit that supports a range of social, economic, cultural and environmental opportunities for our residents, including homeownership.

The lack of affordable and gap group housing is an ongoing challenge everywhere, not just here on Maui. To address this challenge effectively requires a multipronged strategy.

In addition to the current residential workforce housing policy, I testified that the county should also have a policy encompassing affordable financing. This policy could include a down-payment program, a homeownership counseling program, a subsidy program for new and rehabilitative construction projects and a series of classes on money and credit management. The affordable housing fund could pay for these various components of the affordable financing program.

The need to produce affordable housing, including rental housing, for a diverse labor force in Maui County is significant. The need to increase homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families is essential.

While the committee has voted to maintain the charter provision for six years, I urged the committee to vote in favor of making the affordable housing fund permanent.

This fund has generated millions of dollars dedicated to the creation of affordable housing and has a successful record of working with a variety of nonprofit housing organizations to achieve its goals. It is a mandate from the voters that is working.

Alice Lee

President, GO Maui Inc.