November 23, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hawaiian Community Assets
Hawaiian Community Assets, Akakū Announce Series of Community Meetings to Inform Maui’s Comprehensive Affordable Housing Plan
WAILUKU, HI – Maui nonprofits, Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA) and Akakū: Maui Community Media (Akakū), announced today a series of community meetings will be held from December 2020 through February 2021 to gather feedback from local residents on the development the County’s 5,000-unit Comprehensive Affordable Housing Plan.
Community meetings will be held for residents in the County’s 8 community plan areas with follow-up meetings in plan areas determined most suitable for the building of 5,000 units of affordable housing over the next 5 years. Meetings will be limited to 100 attendees and held via Zoom to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Community area residents will be able to participate through online and phone call-in options with feedback managed through chat functions and facilitated discussion.
“For the last 20 years, our communities have identified the same problems and issues around affordable housing. Community members are tired of rehashing the same, old fights. It’s time to come together, find solutions and move forward on affordable housing for our people,” said Blossom Feiteira, HCA co-founder and long-time housing advocate who is leading the community meetings for the project.
According to Feiteira, meetings will gather community feedback on issues and priorities related to affordable housing, recommendations to improve the County’s workforce housing ordinance, and inform development opportunities. Additional, follow-up meetings may be held for Pāʻia-Haʻikū, Makawao-Pukalani-Kula, Hāna, Lānaʻi, and Molokaʻi to identify development and capacity building opportunities that will help mobilize community-driven housing solutions in those areas.
Akakū will partner with HCA to play the community meetings live on Akakū Green Channel 53. Meetings will also be recorded and played through March 2021 to allow for County residents to view at a later time. Community members who attend the meetings online or view on Akakū will be provided information on how to share their feedback via a website dedicated to the Maui housing plan.
“We are very excited to be working with Hawaiian Community Assets to help bring this series of solution-oriented meetings to the residents of Maui County. With input from the many voices that make up our community, we can come together and identify how to make meaningful progress on this long standing issue,” said Jay April, Akakūʻs President and CEO.
HCA was awarded a contract from the County of Maui in November to develop the comprehensive affordable housing plan that will come before the County Council for review in March 2021 and approval in June 2021. HCA is the lead organization for the project and has assembled a team of experts including Ms. Feiteira, PBR Hawaii and Associates, Austin, Tsutsumi, and Associates, the University of Hawaii, Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, Rural Community Assistance Corporation, and Stanley Keasling Consulting.
“The plan will promote smart growth development as the right path to 5,000 affordable homes in 5 years. Following ‘smart growth’ principles, we will be engaging community, looking at a variety of housing and policy options, and focusing on density and in-fill housing development near public transportation to the greatest extent possible. Our approach will help maximize the use of available infrastructure so we can reduce housing costs on our local families while at same time keeping the country, country,” said HCA Executive Director, Jeff Gilbreath. “We mahalo the County, Akakū, and our team of experts for their partnership and look forward to working with community to create a plan that will put affordable housing development front-and-center as a COVID economic recovery strategy.”
If you are Maui County resident and are interested in registering for a meeting in your community, find registration information below. All meetings will take place 6:00pm to 7:30pm on their scheduled date.
Hawaiian Community Assets is a nonprofit, Department of Housing and Urban Development counseling agency that runs a network of Financial Opportunity Centers statewide. Founded in 2000 on Maui, the organization has served over 20,000 Hawaii residents with free financial education and housing counseling, resulting in more than 6,000 residents obtaining rentals, purchasing homes, or preventing evictions or foreclosures. In partnership with its loan fund, Hawaii Community Lending, Hawaiian Community Assets has assisted Hawaii communities in accessing $160 million in capital for affordable housing through grants, loans, and mortgage financing.
Akakū: Maui Community Media empowers the community’s voice through access to media. Akakū is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that airs content created by the community for the community. Community members on Maui, Molokaʻi, and Lānaʻi.