• Written by: Charla Teves (Intern)

ALOHA Homes (SB1) passes the Senate Committee on Housing

The bill was passed with amendments following the publication of an HHFDC feasibility report.

Hawaii has taken a major step towards implementing ALOHA Homes (SB1) with the passage of the bill out of the Senate Committee on Housing on February 16, 2021. The passage of an amended version of the bill followed the publication of a feasibility report on the ALOHA Homes plan by the Hawai`i Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC).

Commissioned by the Legislature in 2019, HHFDC’s report finds that the ALOHA Homes plan will guarantee affordable housing to hundreds of thousands of our local residents, noting that “many of the provisions proposed in the ALOHA Homes model would have the potential to address [the] housing needs of middle-income earners that are currently priced out of the housing market and have very limited opportunities for homeownership."

The report is now playing a crucial role in strengthening the ALOHA Homes plan. In accordance with the report’s recommendations, we have worked closely with HHFDC to draft and pass proposed amendments to SB1. In total, these amendments:

  • Give greater flexibility on density so that developments can meet local needs.

  • Clarifying the aspiration of the program to produce enough housing to meet demand.

  • Determine pricing based on the “minimum level necessary to be revenue neutral,” rather than a specific dollar amount.

  • Remove language regarding Native Hawaiian transfers to comply with the Fair Housing Act.

  • Give HHFDC greater flexibility in repurchasing the units.

  • Remove the requirement that these units need not subsidize non-housing uses.

  • Remove the pilot project requirement, as all components of the program should be in place for the first project.

  • Add three employee positions to administer the program.

The ALOHA Homes plan has generated the discussion captured in the report, bridging the diverse input of stakeholders from across community, political, business, and academic sectors.

We face reminders on a weekly basis that our state’s housing crisis is only growing more dire. As even the Star Advertiser recognizes, our “bold” plan is the only serious solution.