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Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing

October 25, 2023
Grant Opportunities

For decades, Hawaiʻi has suffered from a severe shortage of affordable housing due to steep infrastructure costs, high land and labor costs, and the most restrictive housing regulations in the country. These factors fuel a chronic housing crisis, where the State has the highest home prices in the nation. Studies show that the State needs to build more than 50,000 new housing units by 2025 to meet growing demand but it is on pace to deliver less than a quarter of that.

This shortage has helped fuel an exodus of Hawaiʻi families during the past several years as the statewide population has declined by more than 15,000 to 1.44 million people. The outmigration had a pronounced impact on the State’s Native Hawaiian population as more Native Hawaiians now live in the continental United States than in Hawaiʻi for the first time in Hawaiʻi’s history. The State of Hawaiʻi Office of Planning and Sustainable Development, the Office of the Governor of the State of Hawaiʻi, and its partners the Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority and the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation respectfully submit this proposal seeking $9.9 million of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing grant program.

The proposal aims to increase statewide capacity to address a range of regulatory, administrative, and legislative barriers in producing and preserving affordable and accessible housing. As numerous studies identify the lack of infrastructure as the number one obstacle to building affordable housing, the application proposes to create long-term statewide regulatory and financial capacity to break down barriers to affordable housing and infuse funding for county-level infrastructure projects. These actions will unlock the production of at least 10,800 predominantly affordable housing units within the next 6 years, and with time and additional infrastructure, will help unlock up to 30,000 new units. Specifically, the proposal will:

  • Increase capacity to address the eight key barriers in producing affordable accessible housing identified by the State, including inadequate infrastructure, land use restrictions, zoning, and other regulatory, administrative and legislative barriers to the production of affordable housing;
  • Create new financing mechanisms, including a Statewide Infrastructure Bank, to expand the available funds for infrastructure and housing construction; and
  • Accelerate the strategic deployment of critical infrastructure to unlock at least 10,800 units desperately needed housing across the State’s four primary counties.


These investments are targeted to provide critical investment in historically underserved areas and unlock new affordable housing units in existing high opportunity areas to advance racial and economic equity and fair housing initiatives. Further, these infrastructure investments will address the historic, socio-economic disparities experienced by Native Hawaiians, who are disproportionately low-income and face compounding barriers in accessing affordable housing.


Final PRO Housing Grant Application Submitted on 10/25/2023

News Release – October 4, 2023