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Senate panel OKs 3 housing measures

By Associated Press


Hawaii could see more micro apartments, housing for seniors, and rental properties if bills that lawmakers approved in committee Wednesday become law.

Senate Bill 2442 would provide $100 million to the state's Rental Housing Trust Fund, providing money for construction of more than 580 micro apartments and affordable rental units for low-wage workers and seniors, according to testimony from the state's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

The bill mentions a 2011 Center for Housing Policy report that found Hono­lulu tied as the least affordable city in the country for renters. It also says high housing prices contribute to Hawaii's high rate of homelessness.

No state has more homeless people per capita than Hawaii, according to the Homelessness Research Institute.

Another bill, SB 2267, would put $15.8 million toward building micro apartments. Those units are defined as being at least 220 square feet in area, with a separate closet and bathroom, and a kitchen sink, cooking appliance and refrigerator. They cost an average of $150,000 apiece to build, half of what average rental units cost, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said in written testimony in support of the bill.

The Hawaii Public Housing Authority would receive $60 million to build a housing complex just for seniors if another bill, SB 2541, passes. Such a public housing complex would be the first of its kind in the state.

Other bills the Senate Means and Ways Committee considered, but deferred, would expand housing programs for homeless people and prevent shelters from compelling homeless people to buy food there in exchange for services.

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Wazdat wrote:
get some mobile homes and be done with it. Why is Hawaii so slow to adapt things that work in other cities?
on February 10,2014 | 06:22AM
wiliki wrote:
We tried... IIRC there were some cabins in the state park that were converted to family units years ago. It may have worked in the mainland but it didn't work in Hawaii. People don't want to move far away from their relatives and jobs. It would have been better for their relatives to put them up and for the state to have subsidized the increased rent for their landlord and to temporarily permit some related construction to fit the extra family into the house. For example a tent or gazebo in the front yard.
on February 10,2014 | 06:13PM
iwilei2000 wrote:
Honolulu's urban neighborhoods have 75,000 housing apartment units that are aging. The majority are over 40 years of age. Many owners are renovating to smaller rooms for weekly rentals to lower income. The City's building code needs to change to allow smaller rooms. New York City has a similar old building program.
on February 10,2014 | 06:42AM
wiliki wrote:
IIRC it was called Ohana renovations. For some reason the City decided to end the program.
on February 10,2014 | 06:16PM
wiliki wrote:
Exactly what we need to fight homelessness.
on February 10,2014 | 07:02AM
boshio wrote:
Great idea, however, it is doomed bvefore it begins because the state will continue to use unqualified personal to manage these rental properties and will end up being run into the ground.
on February 15,2014 | 06:55AM
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