HomeAsian AmericansNative Hawaiians awarded housing in Maui amid shifting laws

Native Hawaiians awarded housing in Maui amid shifting laws

For the first time in 17 years, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) gave out affordable housing credits to more than 50 Native Hawaiian families on June 15, according to an article by Hawai’i Public Radio.

The families were awarded 52 homes in Pu’uhona, a neighborhood in Waikapū in northwestern Maui, Hawaii News Now reported. Each home contains three to five bedrooms with estimated cost evaluations between $500,000 and $699,000, according to Hawai’i Public Radio.

These houses are what are known as “turnkey homes.” A turnkey home is a property intended to be ready for immediate move-in with handling of property management sometimes assigned to a separate company, Investopedia wrote.

This round of housing credits gave locals like Ellabelle Kaiama from Lahaina a chance to “leave something behind” for her loved ones, she said to Hawai’i Public Radio.

To qualify, an applicant must be at least 18 years old and at least one-half Native Hawaiian, according to the DHHL.

This is just one of several initiatives meant to get people back into homes.

A bill inspired by Hawaii’s housing crisis, SB2617, calls for an investigation into how the state may be able to adopt a ban on foreign ownership of non-owner occupied property, ABC News reported.

A bill in the Maui County Council aims to allow those affected by the fires to rebuild and reside in temporary housing on their land for up to five years to give residents more time to save up for rebuilding expenses, a reported by Honolulu Civil Beat wrote. Three and a half years into the agreement, the property owner will be reminded of the five-year deadline. This legislation expands on existing permit laws that only give six months before a temporary structure must come down.

At the end of 2023, Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen proposed Bill 131, which provided property tax exemptions to those who converted vacation rentals to long-term rentals for wildfire aid in Maui, which passed in 2023, according to a press release by Maui County.

As the small but infamously expensive state navigates housing and economic troubles, the community relies on existing and new legislative policies to ease its citizens.

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