The Steering Committee of Faith Action for Community Equity met on Dec. 4 to elect officers, adopt a legislative package, and adopt a budget. The Steering Committee is composed of representatives of all Faith Action member organizations.
The newly elected officers are as follows:
Ikaika Hussey, President
Rev. Jessica Kawamura, Vice-President of Clergy
Danicole Ramos, Vice-President of Laity
Kristen Young, Secretary
Jon Davidann, Treasurer (re-elected)
The legislative package that was adopted is composed of an environmental issue proposed by the Environmental Justice Task Force, along with several affordable housing issues proposed by the Housing Now! coalition, as follows:
Carbon Cashback: Assess a fee on gasoline and other fossil fuels, and distribute the revenue generated by the fee to Hawaii residents as a dividend. The dividend would support individuals and families, and, when spent, would stimulate the economy.
REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts): Apply Hawaii’s corporate tax to REITs, which are corporations that use a loophole to avoid Hawaii’s corporate tax. Allocate the increased tax revenue to the Rental Housing Revolving Fund to build affordable housing.
Rental Housing Revolving Fund (RHRF) cap removal: Allow more money to go into the RHTF by amending the existing maximum amount that can go into it annually.
ALOHA Homes (Affordable Locally Owned Homes for All): Support Senator Stanley Chang’s bill that would create high density low-cost housing on State and county land.
Stadium site: Designate for housing development the 38 acres of the State-owned Aloha Stadium site that is not needed for the new stadium or affiliated parking. This location may be used for ALOHA Homes.
Community-led housing mandate: The City & County of Honolulu would set an island-wide target for the number of affordable housing units to be built by a certain date. Oahu would be divided into districts, and each district would be assigned a share of the target island-wide number. Each district would be responsible for identifying viable sites for affordable housing within its boundaries to fulfill its share.
Empty homes fee: A fee would be assessed on residences on Oahu that are empty for most of the year. This would discourage rich people from the mainland or foreign countries from owning housing on Oahu. More housing would become available for residents, and the housing market would shift its attention away from luxury housing for non-residents and more toward housing for residents.
The Steering Committee adopted the legislative package with the understanding that revisions may be made at any time.
The Steering Committee also reviewed Faith Action's finances. The balance sheet showed current assets of about $250,000. The proposed 2021 budget projects income of about $250,000 and expenses of about $230,000, which would result in a net income of about $20,000. The Steering Committee adopted the proposed budget.
By electing officers, adopting a legislative package, and adopting a budget, the Steering Committee set the groundwork for advancing Faith Action as an organization and advancing social justice in our communities.