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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Housing crisis must be addressed by all

It's a measure of the housing crisis we face today that a planned 125-unit subdivision in Wai'anae with a target price of roughly $415,000 is seen as "affordable" housing.

The project, by Mark Development Inc., which focuses on low-cost and affordable housing, is priced in a range that would be considerably below the median price for single-family homes on O'ahu. That's good news for families hoping to get into the market.

This price would bring the homes within range for at least some families who qualify for the state's subsidized Hula Mae mortgage program.

Unfortunately, the Hula Mae program will be about the only level of government participation. Despite all the rhetoric, little has been done to increase the amount of affordable housing on O'ahu.

A housing bill working its way through the Legislature may change that picture. But without concerted effort on several fronts, from streamlining permitting and land-use approvals, to aggressive tax incentives to making basic entry-level rental homes available, our housing crisis will only get worse.