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The state of Hawaii is in need of a comprehensive approach to helping Hawai'i families and supporting Hawai'i farmers during the time of COVID-19. This report proposes that through the CARES Act funding, Hawaii should spend $40 million on immediate needs between now and the end of 2020 that will set the stage for future food system resilience efforts in years to come. The report details out different types of food assistance programs, the amount needed for these, and what the food assistance programs would provide.
Currently in Hawaii, thousands of seniors struggle just to put food on their table. The issue of senior hunger is complex, and is often a symptom of deeper flaws in the structure of the economy, society, and food systems themselves. This report presents an overview of the tools- many of them federal safety net programs- that are available to alleviate the problem in Hawaii. The report then examines each of the safety net tools with special attention to how they can be used to support both nutrition and food systems for Hawaii's senior citizens.
Building a stronger Hawai'i for businesses and residents means creating more opportunities for working families to climb the economic ladder. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a proven tool for fostering economic prosperity. The federal EITC is a tax credit that reduces or eliminates workers' tax liability. This policy report proposes that Hawai'i creates a state refundable Earned Income Tax Credit that will work to put money back into the community and thus strengthen local economies. The authors point to three main benefits of a refundable EITC: to help struggling families, local businesses, and working families. The report concludes with a list of possible new revenue sources which would allow Hawai'i to afford a state EITC.
Hawaii's lower-income families are faced with almost insurmountable structural challenges to escaping poverty. They face the highest cost of living and highest cost of shelter in the nation. At the same time, Hawaii's wages are the lowest in the nation when adjusted for the cost of living, and people in poverty pay more in taxes than residents in all but three states. This report is aimed at identifying new policies that can make real differences in the lives of individuals and families struggling to make ends meet. The report recommends that during its 2014 session, Hawaii's legislature adopt a package of five policies that will significantly increase the economic vitality of their low and moderate-income residents.
Accessory dwelling units (ADU) are an important tool in expanding affordable housing stock, especially in areas with limited room for growth and high housing costs. This policy brief describes ADUs and their benefits and provides examples of successful ADU policies from around the country. This brief concludes with initial proposals for policies, initiatives, and reforms that would balance the needs and concerns of communities while allowing and facilitating ADU creation.
Hawaii has not only the highest cost of living in the country, but also the ninth highest rate of poverty, the second highest rate of homelessness, and the fourth heaviest tax burden on the poor. However, two major federal antipoverty programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), can help mitigate the financial struggles of these families. This report examines the severe underutilization of these two federally-funded programs in Hawaii and recommends new opportunities to build upon current outreach efforts and significantly increase participation in Hawaii. Key recommendations in this report include a more thorough assessment of community-level participation rates and service needs; expanding, refining, and developing outreach campaigns using targeted approaches to reach underserved groups; expanding coalitions and partnerships to reach those outside of formal social services systems and ensure that SNAP and EITC are made a standard part of client services; and expanding systemic access by easing the SNAP application process and recruiting additional Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites.
The vacation rental industry has exponentially expanded with the growth of online home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb, Flipkey, and Homeaway. The number of Vacation Rental Units (VRUs) across Hawaii increased by 35 percent between 2015 and 2017, and VRU growth shows no signs of slowing down. While VRUs can increase visitor expenditures, bolster tax revenues, and help locals make ends meet, allowing their unfettered proliferation is ultimately detrimental. VRU-saturated cities across the world have begun to experience reduced affordable housing availability, increased housing costs, resident displacement, and threats to neighborhood quality of life. As a result, many are beginning to regulate VRUs. This report looks at key cities throughout the United States and identifies important VRU ordinances. From this data, the report offers recommendations on how to implement effective VRU ordinances.
This annual report brings together the most recent available data to provide a snapshot of how low-income residents in Hawaii have fared after the economic recovery. The report highlights the topics of poverty, tax burden, housing, hunger, and education. In addition to this, the authors offer key recommendations on how to alleviate burdens associated with these topics and thus improve the quality of life for Hawaii's residents.