Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023 |
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While Christmas is right around the corner, the opening of the 2005 session of the state Legislature is just down the block.
The top issues to be faced in this upcoming session are education reform and affordable housing.
Kaua‘i is especially in need of more affordable housing. This lingering problem is being exacerbated by the continuing rise in real-estate prices, which are in turn taking away rental units from the Kaua‘i market. The median price of a home is now well over $500,000, according to real-estate-information agencies. While there is nothing wrong with Kaua‘i residents who wish to cash in on their good fortune in owning homes that are almost worth their weight in gold, this situation is causing a crisis here.
It is time that local government comes up with a solution to the affordable-housing crisis.
A priority should be looking at ways to cut infrastructure costs through better permitting systems, and looking for ways to attract federal and nonprofit funding that would make the construction of a simple home affordable for working folks.
The County Housing Agency continues to work on solutions to this problem, and their efforts are to be encouraged. However, on top of these efforts, action needs to be taken that goes beyond the talk of the past year about finding homes for Kaua‘i families, some of whom are doubling or tripling up with parents or other families.
Kaua‘i’s people have always been able to adapt to emergency situations, as seen in the recovery from two hurricanes in recent times. However, the problem of a lack of affordable housing is something of a hidden one, one that hits a family here and a family there who can no longer afford to rent a home or condominium when one comes on the rental market. The housing problem continues to drip down in our social structure, and is a stimulant to crime and social breakdown of families. With no relief from a downturn in the real-estate market in sight, it’s time for government to do more.
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