Friday, June 12, 2015


Civil Beat blasts Honolulu city government’s inattention to solving the affordable housing crisis

What seems to be in depressingly short supply — both for affordable housing and on transitional housing for the homeless — is a sense of urgency. The building’s on fire, and rather than pulling all five alarms, we’re witnessing the equivalent of a leisurely walk to a roaring blaze with only a couple pails of water in hand.—Civil Beat editorial, 6/12/2015

by Larry Geller

I love it when editors agree with me. Of course, they write so much better than I do. It was a pleasure to read the Civil Beat editorial board’s view on the pathetically slow pace that Honolulu is working at ameliorating its ongoing affordable housing crisis. The pull-quote above—well done, Civil Beat.

They (and I) have written that the pace of low-income housing development in Honolulu is so slow that it is inadequate to solve the problem. If 11,000 housing units are needed, we’re going no place fast.

Let me quote only their intro, and for the rest, please do click over to their article at the link below. The Civil Beat editorial should be a dose of reality for our city government—or it could be interpreted to mean that our “leaders” really don’t care. They know what’s needed, have been ignoring the need for a decade or more, and are still unwilling to implement a remedy for the affordable housing shortage.

If that’s the case, they need to be replaced. Simple? Actually hard to do in this town, but you never know.

And even if we vote the bums out, the next crew will likely behave the same. What we also need, I suggest, is citizen involvement in the planning process. See my next article for what could be the beginning of citizen participation in city planning.

Honolulu’s pace toward meeting its expanding affordable housing needs isn’t exactly what anyone would call “blazing,” as Civil Beat’s Anita Hofschneider reported earlier this month.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced a widely praised “preliminary strategy” on the issue last September, and then … nothing. We may see a new-and-more complete version of that plan later this summer, roughly a year later.

Or we may not. There’s technical analysis to be done, a mainland consultant to consult with and, well — maybe July. Or August.

A study conducted last year shows, however, that this challenge can’t wait: Oahu needs more than 11,000 new rental units for low- and moderate-income households by 2020.

[Civil Beat, Honolulu Must Quicken the Pace on Affordable Housing, 6/12/2015]


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