Hawaii is a beautiful place to live, but the cost of housing can be prohibitive for many residents. With the Oahu housing market out of reach for many, affordable housing projects are in high demand and waiting lists can be long. The average wait time for affordable housing in Hawaii can range from six months to three years, depending on the project. Fortunately, there are organizations that are working to increase the availability of affordable housing in Hawaii.
The Kaiser Permanente Thriving Communities Fund is one such organization that is committed to providing more affordable housing options. They work with partners like House Maui and Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA) to educate and prepare future homeowners for when housing becomes available. The lack of affordable housing options in Hawaii has a direct impact on the health of the community. People who are able to access affordable housing have more money available for essential needs such as food and health care.
Additionally, the lack of affordable housing options can cause health workers to choose to live elsewhere, leading to a shortage of staff in health care functions. To help address this issue, some have recommended increasing taxes on investment properties and short-term rents to increase the county's affordable housing fund. Recovery legislation should also invest in both housing vouchers and in the supply of affordable housing for new construction and renovation. The Center for Housing Policy has found that affordable housing reduces stress and adverse health outcomes that result from anxiety or depression, since deteriorating mental and physical health may be linked to hypertension and heart disease.
Housing vouchers, when available, are very effective in reducing homelessness, housing instability and overcrowding, and in improving other outcomes for families and children. The mission of the Public Housing Administration is to provide safe, decent, and hygienic housing conditions to very low-income families and to manage resources efficiently.