LIHUE — Members of the Kauai County Council will be attending the inaugural Kauai Housing Summit Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. hosted by Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami and the County Housing Agency.
“The people of the County of Kauai and Niihau are at a crossroads, as now more than ever the need for affordable housing is a top priority,” Kawakami said in a press release. “As the county continues to invest in the development of affordable housing, it is imperative that we bring together our private partners, as well as our public and nonprofit agencies to provide much-needed resources for our local families “
No decision will be made at the meeting. The public is invited to the free meeting at the Kauai Veterans Center to discuss:
• What is affordable housing and what is the county’s role?
• How does the county achieve affordable housing?
• Where are the partnership opportunities?
Marty Curnan, retired from the Kauai Police Department who now works as an airport security guard and was born on Kauai, said part of the problem are the fees that the county tacks on to the home-builder.
“Whether it’s the sewer, the water, every fee,” Curnan said. “If they look into how much money home-builders have to pay before they can even get things going, it’s astronomical. That’s not hard to figure out. That’s one problem.”
Land is expensive, he said.
“Everybody knows that, but it’s just the extra costs that are passed on to the home-builder,” Curnan said.
One man whose has lived on Kauai for a decade declined to give his name when asked by TGI for his thoughts on housing.
“If there is homeless, you build homes for homeless,” he said. “That’s it. I mean you just do it. The reason why Kauai doesn’t do it and everybody else doesn’t do it is for the profit motive. There is no profit motive, but that’s not why you build homes for the homeless. You build homes for homeless or have affordable housing to get people into homes and get them off the street. If you can’t afford rent, what are you going to do? Your quality of life is tied to having food, clothing and shelter. Without security, what can you do?”
Registration begins at 8 a.m. Refreshments and a brown bag lunch will be provided free.
Ryan Collins, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.