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Seven Elected! Program Adopted! By-Law Change Debated!
April Calendar
Unit: Spectrum "The L EAG ue and I" Part II
Community Announcements - Hawaii Nei 1972
Membership Memo
Voters Service
LWV General Meeting "Problems of Renting in Hawaii" (Vangie Lamberts)
Charter Commission - Observer's Report (Elizabeth Piper)
State Convention April 7th and 8th
National Updates
New Members Since December
Facts and Issues: Planning Part 3 - April 1972

LWV General Meeting "Problems of Renting in Hawaii"

Byron Baker, KHVH, moderated the panel discussion on rental housing, held on February 22 at Harris Methodist Church. Messrs, Yoshio Yanagawa, Executive Director of Hawaii Housing Authority; Fuifatu Faa'olo, Samoan Chief; Mr. Dan Moore, President of Rent-check; Mr. Tom Gill, President Citizens for Hawaii and Mrs. Barbara Bundy, member of CORE participated in the panel discussion and responded to questions from the audience.

In his initial statement Hr. Yoshio Yanagawa stated the H.H.A. has a waiting list of 3600 Oahu families for low-income housing. This include 1700 senior citizens who represent H.H.A.'s greatest problem because they are on a fixed income, therefore when they move into public housing they remain for life.

Mr. Fuifatu Faa'olo explained that the major problem of Samoans coming into Hawaii is that the Samoan concept of family extends beyond the immediate circle of father, mother and children to include aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, etc. By custom, no Samoan is without family and no member of his extended family may refuse to take him in. This causes trouble when Samoans live in public housing. Federal regulations and local Housing Code provisions limit the number per housing unit and do not allow for ethnic patterns of living which conflict with housing rules,

Tom Gill stated that the problem in Hawaii is simply one of not enough housing available. Major reason for this situation in that land ownership is in the hands of the Federal, State governments and a very few major landholders who control 95% of the land available. The shortage of housing results in a vacancy rate of less that 3%, whereas a minimum vacancy rate of 5% is necessary to allow for reasonable freedom of choice. The price of housing has consequently been rising much faster than costs. Mr. Gill expressed the opinion that although much of the recent discussion has centered on providing subsidized housing to lower unit costs, he is now convinced the problem of excess housing cost will not be solved without government condemnation of land as the only means of controlling land and development costs.

Mrs. Barbara Bundy related her experience as a black wife of a military man encountering prejudice in attempting to rent an apartment. She feels the reaction of prospective landlords is not based upon actual experience with blacks but from hearsay of others from the mainland.

Mr. Dan Moore explained the operation of Rent-Check which is a service to landlords in screening prospective tenants. Only about 1% of tenants are troublesome and he believes the service will also benefit good tenants who might otherwise experience difficulty in obtaining housing of their choice.

During the discussion the question of prejudice against other ethnic groups was raised.

Mr. Gill reiterated that, in his view, the root cause of most of the difficulty is the acute housing unit shortage which allows landlords to pick and choose. He believes the Landlord. Tenant Code proposal currently before the State Legislature would restore some balance to the advantage the landlord now holds and require him to meet his responsibilities.

Relative to the problem of military housing, Mr. Yanagawa declared that if the military provided their own housing it would take care of much of the problem that exists in Hawaii today, and that the Hawaii Congressional delegation is working on this. Tom Gill indicated the military is 10,000 units short of providing enough housing for their own people. The policy of the military has traditionally been to use civilian housing and that although this policy is no doubt a sound one on the mainland, Honolulu is atypical so a different approach is needed.

Vangie Lamberts

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