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County announces plans for Maui Nui Attainable Housing Forum

By Staff | Oct 10, 2019

KAHULUI – Maui County and the Maui Chamber of Commerce will host a two-day Maui Nui Attainable Housing Forum on Oct. 15-16 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

“This conference provides two substantive ways to help get our community on track with attainable housing opportunities, both for rentals and first-time homebuyers,” Mayor Michael Victorino said.

“The first is to help our residents prepare for attainable housing, and the second is to get more attainable housing in the construction pipeline.”

The first day of the conference is free for all attendees and will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 15.

Attendees will learn more about Maui County’s housing crisis, receive information on how to prepare for housing opportunities, get education on first-time homebuying and participate in an open house to view displays of upcoming projects.

The second day will cost $60 for attendees and include a continental breakfast and lunch. It will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 16.

Attendees will focus on getting attainable housing and rental units built.

“The second day will focus on panel discussions on roadblocks to building housing, and there will be multiple opportunities for participants to engage with working groups to determine solutions and needed actions,” Mayor Victorino said.

To register, visit www.MauiChamber.com or call 244-0081. If you are interested in a scholarship application to cover the costs of the Oct. 16 event, contact the chamber.

In related news, County Councilman Michael J. Molina seeks to create a Maui County Department of Housing.

The chair of the council’s Governance, Ethics and Transparency Committee recently transmitted to his committee a proposed resolution to amend the Charter of the County of Maui (1983) to bifurcate the Department of Housing and Human Concerns (DHHC) into two departments, creating the Department of Housing and the Department of Human Concerns.

If the proposed resolution is approved, it is anticipated to be placed on the 2020 General Election ballot for consideration of the electorate.

The proposed resolution not only separates the Department of Housing and Human Concerns, it attempts to expand the powers, duties and functions of the director of each department in an effort to enhance affordable housing opportunities for families and to better address the human needs of the constituency.

The proposed resolution defines the responsibilities of the Department of Housing to include the creation of affordable housing units, develop a comprehensive housing plan for the county, administer existing housing programs, promote new housing opportunities for homeless and needy families, and increase affordable housing stock.

“The bifurcation of the DHHC will allow the administration to focus specifically on housing matters and the creation of affordable housing,” said Molina.

“We need to escalate our focus, because we are falling way behind the demand for affordable housing.”

The Department of Housing and Human Concerns’ Fiscal Year 2020 Budget notes that the Housing Programs consists of approximately 30 employees, while the Human Concerns Program consists of approximately 113 employees.