ASSOCIATION OF HAWAIIAN CIVIC CLUBS
NO. 2020 – 36
URGING THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF HAWAIʻI TO ADOPT A BROAD MORATORIUM ON RESIDENTIAL EVICTIONS CAUSED BY THE NONPAYMENT OF RENT AND NO-FAULT EVICTIONS OF RESIDENTIAL TENANTS WHERE THE FAILURE TO PAY RENT FROM INCOME LOSS STEMS AS A RESULT OF THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND PROVIDE RENTAL ASSISTANCE TO STABILIZE HAWAIʻI’S AFFORDABLE HOUSING
WHEREAS, the temporary closure of many businesses and sectors of our local economy has been affected, causing Hawaiʻi to go from the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 2.2% in 2018 to the second-highest unemployment rate at 22.6 % in June 2020, impacting unprecedented unemployment and diminished or eliminated incomes to families; and
WHEREAS, according to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, 23.6% of Native Hawaiians are employed in service and tourism occupations, an island industry most affected by the devastating economic conditions resulting from the spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 43% of Hawaiʻi residents rent the home in which they live; and
WHEREAS, 47% of Native Hawaiian households are considered A.L.I.C.E. (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed) and at a higher rate of poverty compared to the total state population (8.8%) affecting a disproportionately low homeownership rate and higher reliance on an affordable rental housing market; and
WHEREAS, an escalating economic crisis and unstable housing landscape will contribute to an overwhelming surge of evictions that will overrun local shelters, negatively impact health and social services amid declining state revenue, and have long-term impacts to families in unemployment, residential instability, homelessness, increased rates of domestic violence, increased rates of suicide, increased negative impacts on health and welfare including spiritual and mental wellbeing, increased rates of mental health incidences, academic decline and health consequences for adults and children; and
WHEREAS, in 2016, Governor Ige pledged to functionally end homelessness in Hawaiʻi by 2020 and set $12 million appropriated by the Hawai‘i State Legislature to activate his plan with homeless outreach, a family assessment center, housing programs, and upgrade for the State’s homeless data system and repairs to State-owned shelters; and
WHEREAS, estimates of up to 45,000 renter households in Hawaiʻi were unemployed by July 31, 2020, and lost half of their $600 federal stimulus assistance; and
WHEREAS, on April 17, 2020, Governor Ige signed a Fifth Supplementary Proclamation to supplement the Proclamation of a State of Emergency which imposed a moratorium on evictions that has since been extended in November 2020; and
WHEREAS, the moratorium does not protect tenants against hearings on court orders for evictions, judgments of possession stayed, nor prevent landlords from reporting missed or late rent payments to credit agencies; and
WHEREAS, the moratorium does not guarantee legal counsel to tenants who face eviction; and
WHEREAS, according to a study by the Lawyers for Equal Justice, only 5% of tenants compared to 70% of landlords were represented by counsel thus resulting in 85%– 95% of those cases ending in eviction in Hawaiʻi; and
WHEREAS, the moratorium does not address back rent owed to landlords beyond the state of emergency nor does it provide relief support to small landlords who rely on rental units as primary income; and
WHEREAS, should such conditions continue to exist and necessitate extending the expiration deadline of prior proclamations and public orders, as well as adopting of additional protections for the preservation of public health and safety; and
WHEREAS, the Maui Council of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs adopted this resolution at its annual council convention held virtually on August 15, 2020 and is forwarding the same to the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs to be considered as a resolution submitted by the Maui Council of Hawaiian Civic Clubs.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs at its 61st Annual Convention held online, in the malama of Makali‘i and the rising of ‘Olekūkolu, this 22nd day of November 2020, urging the Governor of the State of Hawaiʻi to adopt a broad moratorium on residential evictions caused by the nonpayment of rent and no-fault evictions of residential tenants where the failure to pay rent from income loss stems as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and provide rental assistance to stabilize Hawaiʻi’s affordable housing; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that AHCC urges the State government to allocate additional federal funding in the rapid rehousing fund for residents at 100% area median income or below as defined by HUD, with an emphasis on expediting the process of delivery of those resources to those qualifying residences and their families to prevent increases of families on the street due to lack of rental payment; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governor of the State of Hawai‘i establishes a COVID-19 Rent Relief Program similar to that of New York City that provides a one-time rental subsidy to the household’s landlord, extends the eviction moratorium six months beyond the state of emergency, suspends court eviction hearings – in-person or virtual – through the moratorium period, and prohibits landlords in Hawaiʻi from reporting missed or late rent payments due to loss of income from the pandemic to credit agencies; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governor of the State of Hawai‘i also establishes guaranteed free legal counsel to low-income residents facing eviction, similar to the 2017 “right to counsel” law passed in New York City; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this resolution be transmitted to the Chairpersons of the respective Councils of the City and County of Honolulu, County of Hawai‘i, County of Maui, County of Kaua‘i, the Executive Director of the Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority, as well as the Governor of the State of Hawai‘i, President of the State Senate, Speaker of the State House of Representatives, Chair of the State Senate subject matter committee on Hawaiian Affairs, Chair of the State House subject matter committee on Hawaiian Affairs, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and all County Mayors.
The undersigned herby certifies that the foregoing Resolution was duly adopted in the malama of Makaliʻi and the rising of ʻOlekūkolu on the 22nd day of November 2020, at the 61st Annual Convention of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs held online.
Hailama V.K.K. Farden, President