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Kamakoa: Affordable Housing Based Upon Priority Categories?

I don’t know much about this project.

However, a comment left my on my blog here mentioned something about the Kamakoa Housing Project going up in Waikoloa.

Something that struck me as kind of weird… is that they have “Priority Categories” for prospective tenants.

The categories of persons eligible to purchase in Kamakoa at Waikoloa and the order of priority in being chosen to do so are:

  • Category 1: Employees working in hotels, resorts and shops in the Waikoloa Beach Resort and Waikoloa Village areas, with household incomes equal to or less than 140% of the median income of residents of the County of Hawaii;
  • Category 2: Employees working in hotels, resorts and shops in the Waikoloa Beach Resort and Waikoloa Village areas, with household incomes greater than 140% of the median income of residents of the County of Hawaii;
  • Category 3: Employees either working in hotels and resorts in the Kohala Coast resort area (within a resort node, as designated on the County General Plan, in the region from the Kona International Airport to Kawaihae Harbor) or working within the Public Sector (those currently working for the federal, state, or county government in Hawaii County) with household incomes equal to or less than 140% of the median income of residents of the County of Hawaii;
  • Category 4: Employees working within the Kohala Coast resort area or the public sector, as defined above, with household incomes greater 140% of the median income of residents of the County of Hawaii;
  • Category 5: Hawaii County residents with household incomes equal to or less than 140% of the median income of residents of the County of Hawaii;
  • Category 6: Hawaii County residents with household incomes greater than 140% of the median income of residents of the County of Hawaii; and
  • Category 7: Members of the general public.

I wonder about this, as there are many people that need affordable housing that don’t fit in a few of these categories… well except for the bottom one.

Building housing that is directly for the hotel workers and then calling it affordable housing is very weird to me.

2 Responses

  1. The concept of workforce housing is somewhat different from the traditional “affordable” housing concept, in that it targets a specific type of worker, rather than an income group. In our particular case the worker we have in mind are those who work in a particular geographic are (West Hawaii), and who cannot afford to live in that area. Housing prices in West Hawaii have been disproportionately effected by off-shore buyers who typically purchased second homes, or retirement homes in this area, and pushed the prices beyond just the local economics.

    What we are experiencing in Hawaii is that home prices, in this particular area, have escalated beyond the reach of the worker who support the economic engine of the region (resort industry), AND beyond the reach of essential public sector employees (teachers, fire and safety rescue, policeman etc). It becomes a government decision whether to address this imbalance, in order to support those workers who are now faced with inordinately long commutes from areas of more affordable housing, to their employment.

    In this particular case the land on which this development is being built was provided to the County by the developer of one of the nearby resorts, and was always intended for this purpose (worker housing). The categories you cite are based on this, as well as the realization that public sector workers also find themselves in this predicament, of working in an area, but being unable to afford to live in that area.

    But, at the end of the day although their are priority categories, everyone is eligible, regardless of employment or income.

  2. at one time it was to include teachers, fire fighters, police and similar “for the public good” people. Seen as a way to recruit more candidates and have them stay in their jobs because housing near jobs and decent housing.

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