WATCH: Mayor Caldwell signs bills for green energy and new rental unit construction

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON) — After two more positive cases of COVID-19 were reported for the state, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell held a news conference to sign two bills that, according to Caldwell, will “create a more affordable Honolulu.” Bill 25 aims to “create jobs from green energy projects” and Bill 60 relates to rental housing.

“Both of them deal with affordability,” said Caldwell. “We’re putting in place the infrastructure to go to a different place when we come out of this pandemic, a place where our children can afford to live not only now but for generations to come.”

When asked to define what an affordable monthly rate is, Mel Kaneshige — a “birth father” of Bill 60, according to Mayor Caldwell — said: “Rent for studios is about $2200, and rent for a two-bedroom is about $2800. It fills in, but that gives you a general idea of what the rents are.”

These rates are based off of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s figures that state the average median income for Honolulu residents — meaning half of the households in the County earn more, and half earn less — is $55,000 for a single income and $78,000 for a family of four.

Bill 60 has rent caps for the first 15 years of occupancy, after which “the market will control the rents.” Landlords and bank executives were also in attendance.

Both measures intend to combat Hawaii’s record-high unemployment and spur long-term economic recovery.

The full news conference and bill signing can be viewed in the video above.

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