Addressing Our Housing Crisis
Hawai‘i faces a tremendous shortage of affordable housing units—for every 100 families in need of affordable housing, only 29 affordable housing units are available. This affordable housing shortage makes it increasingly difficult for families with limited resources to find a safe place to live, put food on the table, and make basic ends meet. One result of the affordable housing crisis has been a sharp rise in Hawai‘i’s homeless population. Homelessness in Hawai‘i has increased by close to 20% over the past 5 years, and today, Hawaiʻi has the highest per capita rate of homelessness in the country.
Hawai‘i’s affordable housing shortage, combined with the soaring cost of living in the islands, has made it impossible for many families who have lived in Hawai‘i for generations to buy, or even rent a home. Each year, thousands of Hawai‘i residents leave because they can no longer afford to live in our state. Tulsi has long advocated building up rather than out, particularly on O‘ahu, to make the most of our limited space and ensure that our environment and agricultural lands are preserved. She is committed to expanding access to affordable housing opportunities, promoting home ownership, providing transitional housing, and helping those who are house-less get the immediate relief and long-term support they need.
Tulsi Supports Federal Funding and Tax Relief to Help Address the Affordable Housing Shortage
To assist these efforts, Tulsi has supported federal funding for numerous programs that help state and local governments address housing issues including Section 8 Housing, Housing for the Elderly, Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant and Loan programs, HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing, and the HOME Investment Partnership program. She has also strongly supported Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which have helped to develop and rehabilitate thousands of homes in Hawai‘i and created more than 2,900 jobs in Hawaiʻi's 2nd Congressional District over the past 30 years. In Congress, Tulsi has co-sponsored legislation to make permanent and expand the temporary minimum credit rate for the low-income housing tax credit program, as well as legislation to increase Low Income Housing Tax Credits for individuals who have experienced a Federally Declared Natural Disaster. While she has continued to push hard to address this crisis head on, there is still so much work to be done. Tulsi remains committed to working to address this crisis.
Native Hawaiian Housing
Since the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) was first established in 1996, it has strengthened indigenous self-determination and empowered Native people by addressing affordable housing needs. In Hawai'i, NAHASDA has increased homeownership among Native Hawaiians, brought hope to many people who are living paycheck to paycheck and helped to remove roadblocks to economic success. Tulsi is working to pass legislation reauthorizing NAHASDA in Congress to ensure this program continues for generations to come.
More on Addressing Our Housing Crisis
Earlier this month, the U.S.
“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services just announced that Hawai‘i has been selected to participate in the collaborative and highly competitive Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program beginning this April. This is important because Hawai‘i will focus on expanding Medicaid involvement in the state’s housing and homelessness initiatives, ensuring those who need care the most get access to it.
Washington, DC—Today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) voted in favor of H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2015. The bill would enact incremental changes at a number of federal housing programs, including public housing, the Section 8 voucher program, the Federal Housing Administration, the Rural Housing Service, and the McKinney-Vento homelessness assistance grants, among others.