Advocates: It's time for lawmakers to act on affordable housing - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Advocates: It's time for lawmakers to act on affordable housing

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Affordable housing advocates are pleading for help as time runs out this legislative session.

On Saturday, members of the Housing Now Coalition staged a trolley rally and drove neighborhood to neighborhood chanting and waving signs that read "Housing not Hassle" and "Affordable Housing Now."

"We really are begging the Legislature to not just make the verbal commitment they made, but to make a real commitment with the money needed to build affordable housing," said demonstrator Linda Rich. 

Gov. David Ige's plan to invest $50 million in the Rental Housing Revolving Fund was recently slashed in half by the House and Senate.

Not a good move, according to advocates, if the state wants to meet its goal of developing at least 22,500 affordable rental units over the next decade.

Only about a 1,000 units have been added to the market in the last two years.

"There are developments going up all over this island that are not affordable and that's only making the problem worse," said Rich.

According to Hawaii Appleseed, one person would need to make $31 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent.

Currently, the average wage of a renter is just under $14.

"People who are working a full-time job should be able to find a place to live," Rich said.

Affordable housing advocates believe several bills introduced at the beginning of the year could have set a foundation for a breakthrough in Hawaii's housing crisis, but many of the proposals have fallen to the wayside.

Still, the fight is not over. 

"Please call your legislators and ask them to support more and more affordable housing," said Catherine Graham, of The Housing Now Coalition. 

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