Local Connection: Building affordable housing - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Connection: Building affordable housing

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It is gratifying to see the state and city working together and beginning to chip away at the Kakaako homeless camp. But as we've said before, this is only the beginning of a long campaign.

The next phase has to be building affordable housing quickly.  For that, our leaders must do more than just take action, they must change the way they think.

We are not saying they need to invent a new approach or reinvent the wheel.  The ideas are out there, neither the problem nor the solutions are new.

But the solutions won't be found between the walls of the state capitol or in Honolulu Hale.

They are out in the private sector - where there are people with experience in putting together deals that finance and construct housing of all kinds.

People like Stanford Carr, a "Maui Boy" who has built pretty much every type of housing you can imagine.  He told us if the government sets aside a piece of land and cuts the red tape, he can generate hundreds of units in a matter of months.  

When the governor estimates it would take five years…he's thinking like a bureaucrat not a builder.  

For whatever reason, perhaps old political rivalries or a tendency of government to distrust the motives of business people, the private sector has not played a serious role in the government response to homelessness, yet.

The governor and county mayors should immediately open their doors to the experience, intelligence and creativity of our business community. 

This is not a problem that can be solved by government alone.

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