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October 1971

Convention Wrap-Up
League of Women Voters of Hawaii
Human Resources in a B-R-O-A-D Item
Correction - Hawaii Nurses Association
Voter Service (Trudi Zelko)
Hawaii County Voter Service (Sue Goode)
Land Use (Carol Whitesell)
President's Letter (Dorothy Bremner)
Calendar for 1971-1972
Human Resources: Part I

Human Resources: Part I

from Honolulu H.R. Comm.

Recently, an important study was released by the Department of Planning and Economic Development, State of Hawaii, entitled "Housing in Hawaii: Problems, Needs and Plane." Using 1970 Census data, it attempted to estimate the housing needs of the State and Counties for the next five years; identify public and private obstacles to meeting these needs; suggest remedies for these obstacles; and provide for a continuing long-term plan for housing in Hawaii. The following is an attempt to summarize the summary of this report.

The adequacy of Hawaii's housing is measured by its availability, condition, occupancy and cost in relation to the needs of the population it serves. The inventory here is deficient on all four counts. Housing is scarce, with too few vacancies (2.9% 75. a suggested minimum rate of 6%) to permit adequate choice. Many units are old, dilapidated, or deteriorating--one out of eight state-wide, higher on the neighbor islands. Units are occupied by too many persons and unusually few homeowners (one out of five units has more than one person per room). Prices are beyond the reach of the majority of Hawaii consumers. Thus, in these terms there is a shortage of at least 50,000 adequate, reasonably-priced housing units. This, despite the fact that in the past decade housing supply has grown more than population, especially on Oahu.

The housing shortage is most acute for certain segments of the population, such as low-income and elderly residents, military families and students. These shortages exist even though 10% of the housing stock is publicly owned or subsidized. Also, rents are high. As of 1968, at least 40% of Oahu renters paid more than 25% of their income for rent, the maximum acceptable rate under FHA rental program standards. Hit hardest are lower-income households wherein 71% with incomes below 0000 paid more than 25% of their income for rent. In short, in the past ten years Hawaii's housing inventory has improved slightly in terms of total supply and space per person, but these improvements have been overshadowed by dilapidation and price increases.

It is apparent that the housing delivery system is meeting the needs of only those ,n the upper income brackets. Virtually no new rental housing is being built without public assistance for those with incomes under 410,000.

There are several basic and related reasons for the failure of the housing delivery System to meet needs: 1) the population and economic growth of the past decade would have taxed even the healthiest delivery system; 2) most builders of private housing have been undercapitalized and unable to take advantage of new technology or potential economies of scale, as well as impeded by the availability and cost of the main components of housing production--land, construction labor and materials, and financing; 3) public policy and programs concerning housing have been inadequate for over-all needs, although Federal Housing Act 701 and State Act 105 are steps to improve this weakness.

Federal aid has been dwarfed by local needs. Its usefulness to Hawaii has sometimes been reduced by inappropriate administrative criteria, diverse and lengthy Federal review and allocation methods, and complicated application processes and sponsorship requirements. Although Hawaii's Federally-assisted public housing program is recognized as one of the most innovative in the country, the number of units it has developed has been far too mall. The program for moderate income families, which began in 1961, has produced only 1,700 units--all on Oahu. Hawaii's land and development costs will impede the ability of the new FHA interest subsidy programs to achieve appropriate rent or mortgage payment levels, unless these programs are combined with rent supplements, leased housing, urban renewal and other land cost write-downs. Urban renewal has produced only 1,835 housing units in the past decade while displacing 1,600 families and 2,700 individuals from their homes.

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