It’s no surprise to anyone who lives on Kauai that we have a housing crisis. I recently went to a housing summit where private developers, contractors (union and non-union), and County officials were the guest speakers. By far, the most informative meeting of 2019 for me. Thank you to the Kauai Board of Realtors for making it happen.
Anyway, what we heard was that high-end developers have a niche that keeps producing (The Kukuiula’s and The Hanalei Preserve’s, etc.), and the County takes care of the affordable housing end of the spectrum quite well (Lima Ola, Rice Camp, Kalepa Village, etc.) But there’s nothing being built for the people in the middle, otherwise known as “gap housing”, or EVERYONE ELSE. The gap people typically make too much money to qualify for any housing assistance in the rental market, and too little to actually afford to buy anything on the open market.
Now keep in mind, we need all kinds of housing to keep a balance. High-end is not the enemy (as some have chanted)! But unless people can start off “affordable,” then move to the middle and then eventually get to high-end or even moderate high, we will continue to be stuck. The idea is to get into the market, and move up. That allows for new people to get in, and move up too. At the moment, private developers have said straight up, “we will not be developing on Kauai anytime soon, it is too costly.” And they are the only ones building gap housing. Without the middle, we can’t progress.
Introducing….Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity works on the gap, and its brand-new housing. A family of 2 income needs to be between $21,600 and $57,600, and a family of 4 income needs to be between $29,620 and $72,000. Buyers use sweat equity for their down payment. Visit KauaiHabitat.org for more information and get yourself on the list. They are the most aggressive, consistent, self-help model developer making progress one subdivision at a time.
You might find this to be a strange blog coming from a sales agent. After all, I’m suggesting that you get on a list to purchase a home without me. There are no realtors involved in a Habitat transaction. But I am also a local girl, born and raised on Kauai, a mother of a college student, and a property manager. The shortage of people being able to get into affordable homes to purchase also clogs the flow of rentals being available for reasonable rates. The same principle applies…lack of inventory means jacked up prices. On the sales spectrum, I describe above of “affordable to gap to moderate to high end,” there is one other benchmark. It’s the benchmark before any purchase begins…its the rental market. The best thing ever is changing someone’s life from renter to owner.
There is nothing more disheartening than to see local families not being able to rent or buy in their own community, and then they move to Vegas (the 9th island) or elsewhere just to make ends meet. One way or another, we need to keep our local families together, healthy and growing, living, working, and progressing right here at home. It is an investment in our future and keeping the Aloha Spirit alive and well for generations to come. It affects our culture and way of life when we let good people go.
For the good of our community, and to give the opportunity of the American Dream, please seriously consider supporting their mission. Please donate either time or money to Habitat for Humanity and contribute to the growth of homeowners on Kauai. Together, we can make a difference.