HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has released its income limits for 2018 — a calculation that is used to determine who can qualify for affordable and subsidized housing programs, and also helps establish fair market rent.
HUD income limits in Hawaii are increasing substantially — in some cases by more than 10 percent — as the cost of living jumps each year. This means more people are qualifying for public assistance through housing vouchers or Section 8 placement, but those options are still as limited as before.
According to HUD, as of 2018, low income for a single person in Honolulu is someone making up to $65,350. Just a year ago, it was $58,600. That's a nearly $7,000 increase from 2017.
A family of four in Honolulu can now make up to $93,300 and still be considered low income. That's up $9,600 from just a year ago, or more than 11 percent.
A person living on Oahu and making $40,850 is now "very low income." For a family of four, it's $58,300. These figures are also up from 2017.
These numbers are important because the HUD uses them to establish the requirements for people applying for public housing or housing vouchers.
HUD sets lower income limits at 80 percent and very low income limits at 50 percent of the median income for the county or metro area where you live.
Income limits vary depending on which county you live in.
At $96,000, Honolulu has the highest by far; followed by Kauai at $87,000; Maui and Molokai both at $81,400; and then Hawaii Island at $47,200.
According to HUD, the median family income for the state of Hawaii is now $88,300.
An individual earning up to $49,450 is now considered "low income" statewide. Keep in mind: Teachers in Hawaii who are just starting out their career and have a bachelor's degree but no additional training make about $36,000.
A family of four earning up to $70,650 is also considered "low income" statewide.
So what qualifies as "very low income" for a person living in Hawaii? For an individual, that's someone who makes $30,900. For a family of four? "Very low income" is considered $44,150.
As of this year, minimum wage is now $10.10 — but at $21,000 before taxes, anyone working a full-time minimum wage job is considered way below "very low income" status by HUD requirements.
Housing experts say these figures highlight the growing demand for affordable housing development statewide at all price points — from "very low income" ranges to workforce or working professional salary ranges.