Hawai‘i was recently rated as the most expensive state to live by CNBC, with housing being the primary factor in cost of living. With nearly 19 million households across the United States spending at least half of their income on a place to live, it is not surprising that some are forced to forgo basic necessities such as food and health care to make ends meet.
In Maui County, the median home price rose above $735,000 in 2019; the median home price for the US on a whole is $280,000, according to Zillow. Habitat for Humanity Maui joined Habitat organizations across the country on June 12 to launch a new national advocacy campaign called Cost of Home, aimed at improving home affordability for 10 million people over the next five years.
The Cost of Home campaign seeks to identify and improve policies and systems through coordinated advocacy efforts at the local, state, and federal levels, marking significant growth in Habitat’s commitment to ensuring that everyone has a safe and decent place to call home.
Cost of Home focuses on improving housing affordability in four specific policy areas: increasing supply and preservation of affordable homes, equitably increasing access to credit, optimizing land use for affordable homes, and ensuring access to and development of communities of opportunity.
Habitat for Humanity Maui already has taken several steps toward these goals. HHM sells affordable homes to low income families at a no interest and no profit basis; they serve families that are between 25 and 80 percent of the median income for Maui County, and ensure that families are not paying more than 30 percent of their household income towards housing cost.
Families are required to attend Homeowner Education Classes, budget counseling, and credit counseling. Habitat’s HUD certified pre-purchase workshop and financial education classes are designed to equip families with the essential knowledge that will empower them to be successful homeowner. “We believe that education lays the foundation for becoming an empowered and informed homeowner,” said a Habitat spokesperson.
Image courtesy Facebook-Habitat for Humanity Maui