As Maui home prices soar, residents rally demanding affordable housing solutions

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:09 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:59 PM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two rallies were held on the Valley Isle Monday afternoon for more affordable housing for Maui County residents.

“Today is historic in that we are providing an opportunity for community members to show up and actually voice how important it is to put urgency behind all housing needs in our county,” said Lisa Darcy, founder of Share Your Mana.

The median sales price for a single-family home in Maui County soared past $1.1 million last month.

On Monday, dozens of residents chanted and held signs in front of the county building in Wailuku and along Kaahumanu Avenue in Kahului ahead of the Maui County Council’s Affordable Housing Committee meeting.

The committee heard a plan to create 5,000 affordable homes for Maui County residents within the next five years.

“Maui home prices are so high. They are higher than on Oahu and very few people who live here and work regular jobs can afford homes. They’re doubled up, they’re tripled up, some have to live on the street or in their cars,” said Maui Tomorrow Foundation President Michael Williams.

Jessica Lau lost her job last year and has been living on the streets since.

“I’m unsheltered since March of 2020. It’s my first time ever,” Lau said.

Lau said she recently found a job but she still can’t afford to put a roof over her head.

“I’m still homeless now but I know things will lighten up pretty soon because the jobs will be opening up again. So even though I have a job right now, I’m going to look for one for the daytime,” said Lau.

It’s people like Lau, that community members say they are rallying for.

“We’re telling the people that we care about them, that we’re going to stand up for them because housing is a crisis and everyone knows it and it’s time that we do something about it and that’s the reason we’re standing today,” said Stan Franco, president for Stand Up Maui.

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