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Housing Advocate Calls for a Departure From the Status Quo To Meet Basic Needs
May 22, 2023

Fellows mentioned in this story: Gavin Thornton

From Hawai‘i Public Radio:

In order to solve Hawaiʻi's housing and homeless crisis, the state is going to have to change the way it does things in a significant way. That’s the recommendation of Gavin Thornton, the executive director of the Hawai‘i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice.

Thornton said that because of the state’s revenue surplus, lawmakers have deprioritized making better investments and finding ways to generate new revenue to fund affordable housing.

"Going into session, there was talk of this big budget surplus, and then there would be funding for all these important programs that people need. And at the end of session, we just didn't see that happen in a significant way," he said.

He also said Hawaiʻi has gotten used to the sight of homeless people on the streets.

"We've come to accept seeing people who are houseless on the streets, and just like drive by, avert the eyes, or whatever we do. And we've just come to accept this is the way things are. That's not the way things are everywhere. It doesn't need to be that way," he said.

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