Friday, Feb. 3, 2023 |
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We all know there are advantages to home ownership. Tax deductions, equity, stability and freedom come to mind. It’s nice to have a place to call your own, to know there is a chunk of Earth that belongs to you. When you walk in the door of a house that is yours, there is a sense of pride. Feels pretty cool, especially when it’s something you’ve worked and planned and sacrificed for years to achieve.
Owning a home on Kauai can be even more of an accomplishment because it’s even more challenging than most places in the U.S. Even a small house on Kauai can carry a price tag of $400,000 or more. The median price is more than $600,000. This is one of the more expensive places to buy a house in the nation, almost to the point where you have to be wealthy to own a home here.
That’s where Kauai Habitat for Humanity is making a difference. It’s giving folks who have limited income a chance at home ownership. If you qualify, if you’re willing to put in the sweat, if you’re got the desire and the drive, Habitat might be able to help you. Habitat recently held a groundbreaking for 107 affordable homes in Phase II of its Eleele Iluna Subdivision.
“Kauai Habitat is the only Habitat affiliate in Hawaii that is pursuing subdivision development as a response to the growing need for housing,” said Executive Director Stephen Spears. “We have a duty to our community – nearly 2,000 out of our 65,000-person population has contacted our office expressing interest in becoming a Habitat homeowner.”
There is a great need for more such housing projects.
Rice Camp Kupuna Housing in Lihue will offer 60 units for phase one, and Kolopua in Princeville will provide 44 workforce units.
More will need to be done to prevent Kauai from becoming a place where only the rich and famous can buy a house.
A 2011 Hawaii Housing Planning Study stated about 1,300 new housing units are needed on the island by 2016. Of these, 925 units, or 70 percent of the projected housing inventory, are needed to supply low and very-low income families.
Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. recently issued a proclamation that provides the County of Kauai authority to administer “Fast Track Permitting for Workforce Housing Projects” for five years. The proclamation basically makes qualified workforce housing projects a priority in the county permitting process. That’s a start.
While we hope such efforts will have an impact, it’s likely that home ownership here will remain elusive for many. Prices have been escalating and that could continue. Sales of fee simple properties, the most common kind of land ownership, have been climbing since dropping to 453 in 2009 — hitting nearly 1,000 this year.
Bottom line, we congratulate and thank Kauai Habitat for Humanity for its efforts to provide home ownership for residents who otherwise might not be able to have a roof of their own over their heads. We hope it gets the support necessary to continue its fine work.
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