To: The Hawaii State House and The Hawaii State Senate
Support Affordable Housing
The Legislature has a strong record of supporting affordable housing in Hawaii and we thank you for your support. We are writing to ensure that affordable housing continues to be a top priority for legislators. Specifically, we request that the Legislature consider the following options to increase funding for affordable rental housing:
• Support the maintenance of 50% of the conveyance tax proceeds for the Rental Housing Trust Fund (RHTF) to build more affordable rental units.
• $100 million in bonds and/or general fund allocations for the RHTF to build more affordable rental units.
The Rental Housing Trust Fund is a proven mechanism to build truly affordable rental housing in Hawaii. As of July 2014, over 5,000 affordable rental units statewide have been created or are underway with the assistance of the RHTF and other leveraged funding. We understand that your committees have a difficult job ahead of you, and that you must weigh the merits of many important priorities. As you move into your final deliberations, we ask that you please consider the long term benefits of affordable housing development – not only to reduce homelessness in our state, but also as an economic driver that creates jobs for our community, and provides a legacy of housing and hope for Hawaii’s citizens for years to come .
Why is this important?
Do you want to end homelessness? Do you have family or friends struggling to pay rent? Do you want the State to work towards a Hawaii where all can be safely and securely housed? Hawaii needs more affordable housing and NOW is the time to take action.
Recently, the National Low Income Housing Coalition released a report finding that while Hawaii has the highest rents in the nation, the median hourly wage of a Hawaii renter is only $13.86 – less than half of what is needed to afford a 2-bedroom unit at Fair Market Rent. Housing is simply not affordable in Hawaii and more needs to be done.