Faith Action selected affordable housing as a priority issue based on the results of our Listening process just over two years ago. At that time a broad scope of members of all of Faith Action’s member organizations shared their personal priorities with Faith Action volunteers. The results were aggregated, and affordable housing emerged as a top concern.
Since then, Faith Action organized its “Housing Now!” committee, which has been working to get legislation passed that would create more affordable housing in Hawaii. The committee recently endorsed an affordable housing project proposed for Kailua.
The Kawainui Apartments is a 3 and 4 story affordable housing project with 73 rental units. Rents will be affordable to working families, and affordability will be guaranteed for 61 years. Seven units will house homeless families, or those who were recently homeless, or those who are at risk of homelessness.
The project would provide true affordable housing to working families. For example, the rent for a 2-bedroom unit would be less than $1,500. (Rents would rise with inflation.) The affordable rental housing project is located immediately mauka of Kailua’s commercial district on Oneawa Street at the corner of Kawainui Street.
The Kailua Neighborhood Board recently held a meeting that allowed interested parties to express their opinions on the project. Forty Faith Action members attended the meeting to support the project, but opponents showed up in greater numbers. Opponents expressed concerns that the project wouldn’t have enough parking, that the project is too tall, and that traffic would be increased.
These are honest concerns, but they are also typical of affordable housing projects. Other affordable housing projects have been proposed for Kailua over the years, and very similar concerns were raised. As a result of the objections, no affordable housing has been built in Kailua for 28 years. Faith Action is working to support discussion within the community.
This affordable housing project is within walking distance of grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, retail outlets, fitness centers, doctors, and dentists, thereby minimizing the need for personal vehicles.
In addition, those who rent apartments at the affordable housing project may be able to find jobs in Kailua town and walk to work because these renters are typical of the employees of small businesses. A small business owner in that area views this project as helping his employees who now live in Honolulu and must commute to work. If the renters don’t work in Kailua, a bus stop is immediately adjacent to the project.
Here is a link with details on the project: http://www.ahegroup.com/kawainui We would love to hear your thoughts on this. If you would like to get involved with this discussion, email Housing co-chair Keith Webster at email@example.com or reach out to your unit’s Faith Action steering committee representative.