Ideas

Stanley Chang
State Senate | Honolulu, HI

ALOHA Homes: Affordable, Locally Owned Homes for All

IDEA CATAGORY: COVID, Housing, Infrastructure

What’s the Problem?

My father, an immigrant from China, worked one state job.  He was able to buy a house, put my brother and me through private school, put me through private college and graduate school, buy investment property, and retire comfortably.

Since then, Hawaii has developed a severe housing shortage.  About 11,000 students graduate annually from Hawaii public schools.  Only 2,000 homes are built annually.  Because of this structural undersupply, the median home price in three of the four counties now exceeds $1 million, and the state has lost population for 4 straight years.  Hawaii has the country’s highest percentage of people working multiple jobs and both parents working.  For young people today, it is no longer possible to buy a home, provide for one’s family, and enjoy retirement.  The housing shortage is the principal obstacle to fulfilling the basic progressive promise, “One job should be enough.”

What’s the Solution?

Singapore is an island less than half the size of Oahu, but with over five times the population.  It houses over 80 percent of its population in high quality, well maintained public housing that is available to all citizens for only $180,000 on average for a new three bedroom unit.  Even the President of Singapore lived in public housing before moving into the Presidential Palace.

ALOHA Homes (Affordable, Locally Owned Homes for All) adapts the Singaporean public housing model to Hawaii’s unique needs.  It would provide new, unsubsidized homes to Hawaii residents who would be owner-occupants and own no other real property for below market prices.  By building high density homes on state-owned parcels near rail stations, the state can house its future generations without developing agricultural, conservation or otherwise undeveloped land; without adding to the traffic on our roads; and create walkable, livable, safe neighborhoods.