UHERO to collaborate with Honolulu in development of housing database

Philip Garboden, Housing, News

We are excited to announce a new partnership between UHERO and the City and County of Honolulu to develop and maintain an Oʻahu housing database. Dr. Philip Garboden, HCRC Distinguished Professor in Affordable Housing/Economics, will take lead on the project for UHERO.

The database will list all of the island’s subsidized and price-restricted housing units across the island, including units still under development and future developments for which subsidies and price or program restrictions have already been allocated. A new housing database marks a step towards understanding Oʻahu’s housing market, which has been a topic of community interest for many years. Under Dr. Garboden’s leadership, UHERO plans to extend the database to the state-level and make it publicly available, in hopes to further educate local residents and lawmakers.

“Once we have the data pulled together, the vision is to provide it publicly,” said Dr. Garboden. “We think it will be really helpful to government agencies, but, more importantly, it will help the public understand where we’re at as a county in terms of helping families secure housing. And we also hope the folks who live in this housing will help us ensure the data is accurate and up to date.”

The database will be maintained by UHERO and will be available online, providing users with a variety of information, including, but not limited to:

  • The total number of subsidized or price-restricted housing units on Oʻahu.
  • The location of those housing units, including property name and address.
  • Whether housing units were targeted for specific populations (senior housing, workforce housing, etc.).
  • And the construction funding source or subsidy program that applies to each unit or housing development.

“There is a remarkable range of subsidized and price-restricted housing on Oʻahu, and the devil is really in the details,” said Dr. Garboden. “What groups does it serve? Who owns it? Where is it located? And, importantly, how long until it reverts back to market prices? This database will pull data across all agencies to paint a full picture of this precious resource.”

Mayor Blangiardi’s decision to develop a housing database was met with praise from officials in Governor Josh Green’s administration.

“I agree completely on the need for housing data and the importance of data-driven decisions to identify housing supply shortfalls and price increases,” said Nani Medeiros, Chief Housing Officer of Hawaiʻi. “This database is aligned with our efforts at the State to create a similar platform to track all housing projects in the pipeline and their status in the various county and state permitting processes. I commend Mayor Blangiardi and look forward to using this valuable tool.”

With the development of a housing database, UHERO hopes to better inform the community about Hawaiʻi’s current housing market, which may provide clearer insight on future housing costs and educate lawmakers in developing strategies to build and preserve housing.