League Position on Housing
In response to the increasing emphasis on the housing problems of island families at both the State and County levels, League's Planning and Zoning Committee is developing an action program within our National and State positions. Here are selected excerpts from these positions:
National: "...to work for fair housing and an expansion of the housing supply for low and moderate income families... at every level of government...
...for implementation and adequate funding for the full range of authorized low and moderate income housing subsidies for both rehabilitation and new housing...
...to assess whether CDBG (community development block grant) programs... are principally benefiting low and moderate programs..."
State: Several years ago State League called for "a specific (state) plan for meeting the housing needs for all its people who have been priced out of today's housing market. Private enterprise has been unable to meet this need and will be unable to do so in the foreseeable future. Because this problem adversely affects such a large segment of the population, the State should establish the necessary framework to sustain an aggressive program that will increase the sup
ply of low and moderate income homes and bring costs in line with ability to pay."
In line with these positions, League, during the mid-70s, formed with other groups a "People's Housing Coalition" (not the same as the present industry-sponsored Housing Coalition) which supported a number of specific action proposals, such as:
- Strengthen the State housing program under Act 105, including supporting measures for stronger buy back provisions, selling short-term project notes, formation of land banks, loans to non-profit community groups, and monthly housing allowances to enable Act 105's target population to afford housing built under the Act.
- Establish a quasi-public Urban Development Corporation outside the public bureaucracy which would have adequate authority and funding to expand the supply of low-mod housing.
- Establish conditional land zoning that requires any new development needing zoning action to build not less than 30% of the units for low-mod families, with buy-back provisions or other comparable anti-speculative measures.
- Require all new housing built to be offered first to persons who intend to occupy the units.
- Tax gains from short-term speculative investment with special reference to quick turnover transactions, re-sale of development rights or land options, and excess profits on land or new housing developments.
- Establish balanced rent stabilization program protecting tenants against arbitrary and unnecessary rent increases while allowing landlords a reasonable income from their investment.
The Current Situation
The Consumers Housing Task Force, on which League is represented, recently circulated a questionnaire among its membership to determine priorities of its constituent groups for action during the 1981 Legislature. Among items receiving high priority:
- Making "inclusionary zoning" mandatory for all agricultural lands re-designated "urban" by the State Land Use Commission.
- Increasing the appropriation to the Hawaii Housing Authority for the building of rental units.
- Providing money to aid housing cooperatives and other nonprofit developers.
- Guaranteeing the right of first refusal to tenants of residential units being converted to condominiums.
- Amending the landlord-tenant code to give greater protection to tenants.
- Establishing a housing bank and a land bank for low-mod housing. 7, Measures to curb speculation in housing.
- Extension of Hula Mae (tax-exempt revenue bonds for gap group housing).
- Moratorium on conversions of rental housing to condominiums.
League's Planning and Zoning Committee will be meeting Feb. 2 (noon, at the of-ice) to discuss these and other possible items that League may want to support. All interested members are urged to attend and participate. Bring your brown bag and join s! (PLEASE TAKE THIS VOTER WITH YOU TO UNIT MEETING.)