Faith Action Messages for August 7-8 - Archived

Increasing Urban Density for New Housing

This essay is the last of a six-part series. The HousingNOW! Task Force will be reviewing the housing opinion survey distributed to Faith Action members in May 2021. This series is intended to equip members with more knowledge before the next legislative session.

An overwhelming majority of Faith Action members favor building new housing on land that is already urbanized instead of building it on agricultural land.

Hawaii needs 50,000 new housing units by 2024, according to a study by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation.  These housing units can be built on land that is already urbanized by increasing housing density, or the new housing can be built on land that is now designated for agriculture.

The idea of building housing on agricultural land on Oahu has proven to be a failure.  For decades, large housing developments have been approved for land that was previously designated as agricultural.  Tens of thousands of homes were built in West Oahu and Central Oahu.  The result is horrendous traffic on H-1 during rush hour that is among the worst in the nation.   

People who live in these areas are spending so much time commuting that it disrupts their quality of life and limits their time with family.  The rail won’t reduce traffic because it has a relatively small capacity compared with the large numbers of people who commute by car.  Furthermore, the traffic is going to get even worse because the large Hoopili development is being built the Ewa plain.  

Hoopili will consist of thousands of houses on 1,600 acres, most of which was once used to grow sugar cane.  More recently, that land has been used to grow fruits and vegetables for Oahu residents.  It is among the best agricultural land in the state, but agriculture is being squeezed out, and houses will be built there.  Many more Hoopili residents who commute to town for work will take their cars than will take the rail.

We need more agricultural production, not less, especially since there is a growing realization that Hawaii must increase its food security.  Currently about 85% of our food is imported.  Food is constantly being shipped to Hawaii, and there are only one or two weeks worth of food in the islands for people to eat at any particular time.  

Our food supply is vulnerable to natural disasters, labor strikes, and other factors here and on the mainland that can affect transportation.  We are overly dependent on imported food.  Efforts to expand farming should be intensified to make more use of Oahu’s agricultural land.

Another reason for increasing density on urbanized land is that it reduces the cost per unit of housing.  Land is a major driver of the cost of housing in Hawaii.  Building more houses on any particular piece of land reduces the cost per square foot of housing.

In addition, denser housing is more environmentally sustainable.  Less infrastructure is needed because houses are closer together.  Also, since more people live closer to their workplace, they use less energy to commute.  Furthermore, if housing is built close to commercial uses such as stores, restaurants, and other urban amenities, people can walk or bike instead of taking their cars.

We must build more housing for Hawaii’s residents, particularly for low- and moderate-income families.  The need for affordable housing has grown because housing has become less and less affordable.  Wages have stagnated for decades, while the cost of housing has risen relentlessly.  

As a result, more than half of Hawaii’s households do not have enough income to cover all of the basic necessities of life, according to an Aloha United Way study.  They have to decide what they will do without.  A reduction in housing costs will enable to spend more money on other necessities, which will improve their quality of life.

The traditional methods of building affordable housing have proven to be insufficient.  Faith Action’s Housing Now! task force is committed to developing new methods to supplement those existing efforts so that all of the affordable housing needed by the people of Hawaii will be built

This essay was authored by Faith Action HousingNOW! member John Kawamoto. If you are interested in being more involved with the HousingNOW! Task Force, please e-mail housing@faithactionhawaii.org.


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Unit Investment Drive
August 1st – 31st, 2021

It’s that time of year again! Faith Action’s mission to address the root causes of social injustice is funded annually through the following four sources: grants (49%), corporate investments (33%)member unit dues (9%), and personal investments made by YOU (9%).

Your continued support is what makes it all possible. By partnering with your Faith Action ʻohana, you are investing in a brighter future for you, your family, and your community. Together, we can make this year’s goal of $20,000.

Ways to Invest:

    1. Cash or check given to your unit representative
    2. Online
      1. Visit www.givebutter.com/faithactionhi 
      2. Click ‘Donate’ (top left of the page). 
      3. Select Unit Rep or Member Organization. (For example, select Unit Rep’s name if they referred you to the site)
      4. Enter in your information and investment type (i.e., credit, debit or PayPal).
      5. You can opt in/out of publicly posting your name and investment amount on our page.
      6. A confirmation receipt is auto sent to your email.
    3. Check by Mail
      1. Please make the check payable to Faith Action for Community Equity
      2. Tax receipts will be sent out in January 2022, via mail or email. Please be sure to include your correct mailing address if it is different from the address on the check. If you prefer to receive your receipt electronically, please include your email address.
      3. Mail directly to:

Faith Action for Community Equity
P.O. Box 235950
Honolulu, HI 96823


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Aloha Faith Action members,

You are invited to participate in the Jubilee Three Anti-Racism Training: Learning Together About Systemic Racism from Saturday, September 4 through Monday, September 6! This 2 1/2 day workshop will deepen your understanding of how race and ethnicity play out in our institutions and daily lives. The agenda includes presentations, discussions, videos, exercises, and small group work.

Our hope, as Faith Action, is to broaden our members’ perspectives on how race and ethnicity shape the issues that we work on as an organization — who is most affected by the lack of affordable housing, and what systemic issues have perpetuated the inequity? Who disproportionately suffers the most from climate change, and why?

As such, Faith Action will sponsor three (3) Faith Action members to attend this training! If you are interested or would like to nominate someone, please email Ashleigh (aloa@faithactionhawaii.org) with your name, contact information, and unit/congregation. We ask that you commit to all three days of the training and a follow up one-on-one conversation with one of our organizers on how we can apply what we’ve learned in the training to the organizing work we’re doing. There are also full and partial scholarships available using the registration link below.

To learn more about the training and/or register, please click here: Register Now. Or call Carla Allison @ 808-396-1488.

Mahalo!

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