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Maui County seeks to build more affordable homes as median prices soar over $1M

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 6:18 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 14, 2021 at 1:37 PM HST
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MAUI COUNTY (HawaiiNewsNow) - The median sales price for a single-family home in Maui County reached an all-time high last month of $1,117,500. That’s a 44% increase from a year ago.

Rhonda Alexander-Monkres, program manager for Hawaiian Community Assets Financial Opportunity Center, said the situation is nothing less than a “crisis” for working families.

To help, Hawaiian Community Assets has come up with a plan to build 5,000 affordable homes for Maui County residents in the next five years.

The executive director of the organization, Jeff Gilbreath, said with median prices for homes so high there’s an urgent need for more affordable properties.

“We can’t just do nothing. We are far past a crisis here, and it’s far past a moral situation. You’re talking about housing for survival,” Gilbreath said.

Last year, Hawaiian Community Assets got a contract from the county to develop a plan to build affordable homes for locals.

“You have so many folks that are buying site unseen, cash buyers that are offshore, there’s no way our local families can compete. So, this plan focuses on local renters, local home buyers,” Gilbreath said.

After months of community meetings and speaking with hundreds of residents, they found there is a need for affordable homes in every community.

“Originally when we started out with the project, the focus was on central Maui, Kihei and Lahaina,” Alexander-Monkres said.

“We went out facilitated 20 community meetings and heard loud and clear from those areas that didn’t fall within Kihei, west Maui and central that they have needs too.”

Hawaiian Community Assets’ plan was submitted to the county in June and will be heard by the Affordable Housing Committee on July 19 at 1:30 p.m.

They are seeking public comments.

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