HONOLULU (KHON2) — Affordable housing is a big issue in the Islands and the Republican candidate for governor said he has a plan.

Duke Aiona said 50 to 60% of locals are living paycheck-to-paycheck and he wants to work to keep them off the streets in the years to come.

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Aiona said the main problem impacting housing is Hawaii’s real estate market and outside influences that raise prices while lowering availability.

The first step to his Hawaii Home Ownership Initiative is preserving and growing affordable housing for locals.

“This is accomplished by keeping the future sale of any affordable home at the same income range that it was purchased,” Aiona said. “So, I’m at 80% AMI [area median income], I purchase it at that range, so in the deed, there’ll be a restriction that it’ll be in perpetuity.”

His next step is to create and implement a whole of government approach that appoints a chief officer to the executive branch, “that is empowered to coordinate, leverage and deploy all efforts and resources and execute crosscutting measures directed to expeditiously build affordable homes,” Aiona said.

The third component of Aiona’s plan is to create and enhance home-buying programs — especially for renters who want to be future owners.

“Nothing’s being changed in regards to the pricing. It’s gonna remain the same, but the difference is you’re able to use, you know, the rent that you retain for it, for the purchase of it down the line,” Aiona said.

The last step of the Initiative is to empower local families to create huis, “to build affordable homes at a reduced profit to the state’s reduction of their development costs by guaranteeing a portion of the development’s financing,” Aiona said.

KHON2 asked Aiona about the message his plan holds for the 50 to 60% of locals who currently live paycheck-to-paycheck.

“Thank you for that question,” Aiona said, “There’s hope, guys, there’s hope. But you’re only going to get this, this is only going to happen if you vote Republican, if you vote for this administration.”

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The campaign for Democratic candidate Josh Green said in a statement:

As governor, Dr. Josh Green will make affordable housing his highest priority.
Dr. Green has a comprehensive 10-point plan to take on our housing crisis which will start on day one of his administration and build tens of thousands of affordable homes for working families in Hawaii.
Josh Green is the only candidate for governor with the broad support of the construction industry, developers, and labor unions across Hawaii, and the only candidate with the leadership ability to bring together every major employer and stakeholder in our state to contribute their expertise, manpower, and capital to aid in this effort.”

Josh Green for Hawaii

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an inaccurate description of the Hawaii Home Ownership Initiative. The error has been corrected.