Faith Action Task Force Update — Housing
HousingNOW! is the Faith Action Task Force to address housing issues. We have five Steering Committee-approved issues that we are monitoring or to which we will devote later attention. These include: 1) an empty homes fee;2) a community-led housing mandate; and 3) the affordable, locally owned homes for all (A.L.O.H.A.) Homes proposal. The most exciting of these I find to be the housing mandate as this is envisioned to be a grassroots demand by us as the community. In it, we take responsibility for our housing unaffordability crisis and ask where, not if, we are going to take the housing needs of our neighbors seriously. More on this to come.
Taxation of real estate investment trusts (REITs) is the fourth issue. It deals with corporations profiting off revenue-generating real estate investments, Fair taxation of REITs is a land use issue and utilities infrastructure issue, and land use and infrastructure issues are housing issues. If REITs use the infrastructure we need to support affordable housing, land and utilities, then the least they can do is pay their fair share of taxes to make up for the opportunity costs inflicted on our community.
The fifth issue area is the redevelopment of Aloha Stadium into the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED). For just over a month, HousingNOW! has been focused on member education of the NASED Environmental Impact Statement so members are equipped with knowledge of what goes into this thousand-page document and how it affects housing. The priority for HousingNOW! is to talk about the state’s redevelopment plans with respect to our state’s affordable housing crisis and lack of supply. This was the focus of the public comments in the lead-up to the February 8 submission deadline. When we talk about redeveloping public lands, we cannot ignore the need for 1) more housing supply and 2) ensuring that new housing supply is built and financed so it can be priced affordably.
Homes should not be a financial burden to the point that households sacrifice other needs like healthcare or food. Homes should give everyone a chance at stability, safety, and security. Whether Aloha Stadium or other state-owned lands along the future rail line, it is imperative that new housing supply helps working class people thrive within our community.
Foo Pham, Chair