Kawainui Affordable Housing Project Update

City Council Rejects Kawainui Project

Sept. 29, 2020

It was disappointing that the Honolulu City Council voted on Sept. 23 to reject the Kawainui Affordable Apartments project. Prior to the vote, developer Makani Maeva had withdrawn the application for the project, knowing that the vote would be against it.

Five days earlier, Sept. 18, the project gained the support of the five-member Zoning, Planning, and Housing Committee with the support of its Chair, Ron Menor, and members Brandon Elefante and Joey Manahan. But that victory was short lived. Some members of the Council who were not members of that committee nevertheless attended the meeting.

Near the conclusion of the meeting, Councilmembers Ikaika Anderson, Tommy Waters, Ann Kobayashi, Heidi Tsuneyoshi, and Kymberly Marcos Pine indicated that they would be voting against the project when it reached the full Council. Since those five Councilmembers constitute a majority of the Council, the vote against the project five days later was a foregone conclusion.

At the Council meeting prior to the vote, Faith Action submitted testimony expressing disappointment that the affordable housing project would not be approved. However, the testimony was also hopeful that the many Kailua residents who testified in opposition to the project, yet said they support the concept of affordable housing, would identify viable sites in Kailua for affordable housing and that it would come to fruition in the near future.

Kailua is home to only one of the 158 affordable housing projects on Oahu. That one senior affordable housing project was built 28 years ago. There is a 10-year waitlist of people who want to live there, so the demand for affordable housing in Kailua is great.

On behalf of Faith Action for Community Equity, we wish to thank the more than 500 people who sent in written testimony, emailed their Councilmembers, or provided oral testimony to the Zoning, Planning, and Housing Committee. There will be future struggles to develop affordable housing, as it is needed in all communities throughout Oahu.

To learn more and other upcoming potential affordable housing projects in Kailua, go to

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