Chair Chun Oakland, Vice Chair Green and Committee Members:
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii supports HB 766 and HB 1354. It is widely recognized that Hawaii needs a wide variety of affordable housing available to citizens of all ages, all family sizes and in all physical and mental health statuses. We strongly support the issuance of general obligation bonds to meet these various needs as proposed in HB 1354, HD1. We particularly applaud Part V, Section 7 of this bill, authorizing funds specifically for micro-housing.
Micro-units, more specifically addressed in HB766, have proven elsewhere to be a cost-effective way to increase housing stock for low-income and homeless people. These small dwellings can accommodate the needs of singles and small families, including families with school-age children. Thus they address and can prevent homelessness.
Homelessness has far-reaching consequences. It is especially harmful to children who fail to thrive and become productive members of the community. Providing stable housing is an important first step toward protecting the health and well-being of children, enabling their parents to find jobs, and keeping families together. These small residences are also appropriate for older people who are particularly vulnerable to crime and the illnesses associated with living on the streets. Moreover, micro-units are especially appropriate for our densely populated island. Such housing can make it possible for relatively large number of people to live near schools, employment, transportation and health and social services. They are a cost-effective way to address and prevent many existing problems.
We urge you to pass these bills. Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony.