'If Hawaii wants more homes, it might just have to build them'
Mainland publications reach out to the Grassroot Institute for background on why housing in Hawaii is so difficult to come by
from Grassroot Institute, November, 2022
The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii has been at the forefront of calls to deregulate Hawaii's housing market, and news sources on the mainland have taken note.
In September, reporter Chase DiFeliciantonio from The San Francisco Chronicle reached out to learn more about the Institute's thoughts on why so many residents have been fleeing Hawaii, as they have been from San Francisco. His research pinpointed the high cost of housing as a major reason, and his article, published Nov. 7, focused on that.
"From S.F. to Hawaii and beyond, housing costs are pushing people out of increasingly expensive cities," said the article's headline.
DiFeliciantonio quoted Keli'i Akina, Institute president and CEO, concerning the cost of housing.
“For Hawaii, it's significant," he said. "Last year, between 2020 and 2021, we had over 12,000 Hawaii residents leave."
In late October, reporter Valentina Pasquali from Law360 — a legal news service based in New York City and operated by a LexisNexis subsidiary — contacted the Institute for background on Hawaii's housing crisis, particularly in relation to how it had become a major issue in the gubernatorial race.
In her article published Nov. 4, Pasquali noted that "Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Green … has said housing scarcity in Hawaii has 'reached a state of emergency,' and his Republican opponent Duke Aiona … has called housing 'the most important problem we face today.'"
Pasquali wrote that, "The candidates running in the gubernatorial race on Tuesday have floated various proposals to address the housing shortage, with a consensus broadly emerging across party lines … that if Hawaii needs more homes, it might just have to build them."
She quoted Ted Kefalas, Institute director of strategic campaigns, as saying that both candidates' platforms would represent important "first steps" in reforming the state's housing framework, though how feasible their precise plans are remains to be seen.
Kefalas said Green "has proposed doing this through executive order, but that may alienate the Legislature and make it difficult to pass a more permanent change to the process."
As for Aiona's idea, he said, "I'm not sure if the political will is there to completely abolish [the Land Use Commission], but there have been discussions about broader agency reform."
To read the Law360 article, go here. The San Francisco Chronicle article is here. Both are behind paywalls.