Faith Action for Community Equity (Faith Action) uses a uniquely democratic process to select the issues it will act upon. When an organization joins Faith Action, they agree to engage their members in a Listening Process that deepens relationships and uncovers their hopes, talents, and concerns. Unit-specific concerns are addressed by the individual unit members. Community issues are worked on throughout the year by Faith Action's members who are directly affected by the issues raised. At the beginning of each year, Faith Action gathers its members to identify the top local and statewide organizational priorities that will be addressed based on these Listening Process reports. We then establish committees represented by each of our member units to work on those issues. The issue committees conduct research and develop an action strategy that normally involves holding decision-makers accountable.
Faith Action members continue to conduct their Listening Processes and have identified our issues and priorities for 2021-2022: Affordable Housing, Transformative Justice, Environmental Justice, and Long-Term Care.
The lack of affordable housing continues to be one of the most critical issues for Hawaii's residents. A common refrain in almost every one-on-one meeting is the fear that our children will have to choose between living their life in Hawaii or moving elsewhere. We are experiencing a serious housing crisis. Faith Action sees this crisis as requiring a response from people of faith. Our HousingNow! task force works to address this issue. Our increasing population and income disparities paired with an increased cost of living, offshore purchases and skyrocketing land values, and a dramatic decrease in the number of rental properties collectively contribute to forcing people out of the housing market and into overcrowded living situations and homelessness.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has determined that the area median income for Honolulu County is $96,000 for 2018. The area median income for a family of four making 100 percent in 2018 is $116,600. Eighty percent (80%) of the AMI (Area Median Income) for a family of four is $93,280. Clearly, this is not “affordable” for most families.
Our HousingNow! task force meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month from 5:00 – 6:30 pm. Members work on legislative priorities, brainstorm new policies and agenda, conduct research, and plan for actions and events. Meetings are still ongoing and are conducted remotely via Zoom. If you would like to be involved in this committee, please contact Foo Pham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Transformative Justice Task Force grew out of rising community concern about people being jailed before they had been convicted of any crime, just because they couldn’t post monetary bail.
Incarceration is deeply traumatizing and creates inequities in attaining housing, education, employment, and child custody just for starters. Pre-trial detention permanently derails the trajectory of both an incarcerated person’s life and the lives of their loved ones. It breaks the threads of the community tapestry to which we all belong. Dismantling disadvantaged peoples’ lives cannot be the goal of our criminal legal system.
The Transformative Justice Task Force’s educational and legislative focus is eliminating cash bail and drawing attention to alternate ways of building safer and healthier communities. We are building on work already being done in Hawaiʻi and in some parts of the USA.
We invite you to learn about the cash bail system and the carceral system in Hawaiʻi. Consider supporting the elimination of monetary bail, or “cash bail”, which is the front door of our punitive carceral system, in the 2022 Hawaiʻi State legislative session and into the future.
Drop into our Zoom meetings and educational events at any time! We meet every other week on Wednesdays. The Zoom links can be found on the Faith Action calendar.
In early 2020, Faith Action officially launched its new Environmental Justice Task Force which is aimed to mobilize our state officials to take massive action on addressing climate change and protect our state's natural resources. Addressing these critical issues will allow our organization to adopt a broader, holistic approach in challenging the systems which perpetuate inequality and injustice. We acknowledge the strong connection between climate change, social justice and equity. By protecting our natural environment we can ensure the livelihood of our communities and future generations to come.
The Environmental Justice Task Force will mobilize our communities through education, outreach, community organizing and self-determination. It will also educate youth on effective community organizing and advocacy so they can become future leaders in this movement.
Faith Action's Environmental Justice Task Force convenes weekly on Thursday from 5pm - 6 pm Meetings are currently being conducted remotely via Zoom. Please email Kiki Mills at email@example.com for more information.
Faith Action's Long-Term Care Task Force worked closely with Caring Across Generations and celebrated a landmark victory when the Kupuna Caregivers Program legislation was signed by Governor Ige into law in June 2017. A first of its kind in the nation, Hawaii made national news with the passage of Act 102, which established a fund to provide caregivers with an allowance of $70 per day for care-giving services. This compensates family members working 30 hours per week or more who would otherwise have to give up jobs or work shorter hours to care for aging family members.
Because of our collective work, the Legislature initially appropriated $600,000 to fund the program in 2017. We continued to push for increased funding and helped to secure the appropriation of $1.5 million for the Kupuna Caregivers Program in 2019, an increase from $1.2 million in 2018. This year, we continue to support SB 2342 SD 1, which allocates additional funding for the program and reduces the amount of required hours a week, from 30 to 20, that a caregiver must be employed in order to qualify for the program.
Our Long-Term Care Task Force meets once a month to address the needs of our kupuna and their caregivers. If you would like to be involved in this committee, please contact Dr. Clementina Ceria-Ulep, Assistant Dean of the U.H. Manoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene and Long-Term Care Committee Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org