United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Indi.

Native Hawaiian housing and home lands : hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress, second session, on housing needs of Native Hawaiians, July 3, 1996, Honolulu, HI online

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on IndiNative Hawaiian housing and home lands : hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress, second session, on housing needs of Native Hawaiians, July 3, 1996, Honolulu, HI → online text (page 10 of 34)
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term applicants have lesser qualifications for home ownership ~ not because they are less
willing to accept a land award.

B. Need Segments

Nearly all (95%) of applicants need housing. By that we do not mean that they have no
housing, but that they expect to use their Homestead Lease Awards as their homes. The
applicant surveys classify need according to qualifications for obtaining financing for
homes on award land (See Figure 7). Combining information on expectations to build,
preferred unit types, and finical qualifications, it is possible to develop a rough description
of the housing that applicants will need. If we consider the 1 2,999 applicants in the OHHL
sampling frame, then the need for housing would look something like this:



1. Of the 12,999 applicants, 226 (1.7%) do not want to have a home on their land.
Of the remaining 12,773 applicants, 8,456 (66.2%) want to build their own homes,
and 4,317 (33.8%) expect that the home will be built by OHHL prior to or at the
time of the award.

2. Of the 8,456 who want a home on the land, about 253 have the resources to
qualify for standard financing and will have few if any problems in securing a home.
Perhaps 489 will need assistance obtaining financing - handling the down payment,
or in guaranteeing a loan. Another 883 will need substantial assistance in securing
a down payment and may need loans with relatively low monthly payments. 183
have borderline qualifications for financing, and may need special programs such as
rent-to-own or sweat equity. There will be 941 who have considerable difficulty in
obtaining any type of financing to build or buy a housing unit for their land award.
And finally, 1,567 will not t>e able to afford to put a home on the land. Figure 7
shows the size of these need segments for the entire group of applicants.

In short, most OHHL applicants look upon a land award as a solution to a housing need,
and a substantial number of applicants will have difficulty turning a land award into a
housing solution.



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II. HOUSING POUCY

Any effective solution to the housing needs of DHHL beneficiaries presupposes some kind
of housing policy. Since DHHL is not properly a housing agency, it may not be the
Department's role to provide that policy, but data from the study indicate that it is needed.
Let us review some basic facts:

A. Beneficiaries see awards as a solution to a housing problem, and NOT a land problem.

Fully 90 percent of all applicants intend to live on land awarded to them. Only three
percent of lessees have elected not to reside on their awards.

B. Many beneficiaries expect DHHL to be a housing agency.

We asked beneficiaries what role they felt DHHL should play in the issue of housing
for native Hawaiians. Among applicants 62 percent want DHHL to solve housing
problems and not just dispense land. Among lessees, 67 percent agree. Among
applicants, 48 percent felt DHHL should use some Home Lands to generate funds to
help get more applicants on the land. Fifty-six percent of lessees agreed.

About 34 percent of applicants want DHHL to build the homes on awarded land.
More than 63 percent expect DHHL will pay for infrastructure on DHHL lands.

Something like 50 percent of lessees want the Department to be landlord. Open-
ended questions on the mailed survey suggest many lessees consider themselves to
be renters with the Department as their landlord.

C. Some beneficiaries feel DHHL is or should be responsible for housing options that
extend beyond the one-lot-one-SFD concept of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Forty-one percent think DHHL should be building multlfamily units.

Sixty-six percent think the Department should build kupuna housing units.

Thirty-six percent of applicants feel multifamily units can fill their housing need.

D. The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands was established as. and functions as, a
land award agency. While the discussion of just what the Department is or should be
is beyond the scope of this study, it is clear that many beneficiaries expect that
DHHL will offer services that extend beyond being caretaker of Home Lands and
dispensing awards. Much of the data suggest that the needs of beneficiaries will
require a housing policy that is broader than the one-lot-one-SFD plan usually thought
of as the DHHL mandate.



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The study did not set out to address tfiis issue. It arose from comments and urglngs of the
beneficiaries. The findings do not require thiat OHHL become a housing agency, nor that
DHHL be responsible for developing a comprehensive housing policy for native Hawaiians.
The data indicate that such a policy is needed arKl expected by DHHL beneficiaries.

The issue affects decisions that are within the scope of DHHL policy and operations.
Take, for example, rental housing. Rental housing may not be a viable option to fill DHHL
land distribution objectives. There is, however, a need for rental housing among current
applicants, and rental housing is one of the housing options need for native Hawaiians as a
whole. For DHHL, it is useful to have affordable rental housing available to beneficiaries
who are not ready to occupy the land, and for those who prefer not to live on their award.
To the extent that rental housing is even peripherally related to enabling Home Lands
awards, it is a de facto part of DHHL policy.

III. WHAT TO BUILD?

Nearly all DHHL applicants (97%) want to live in single family homes. That has been the
traditional expectation for beneficiaries, and it is likely that interest groups will question
policies designed to deliver any other type of housing. Others might reasonably differ from
the traditional view^^. If all beneficiaries of the HHCA were eventually to be housed in
single family homes, it would suggest that native Hawaiians have a very unusual set of
resources, needs, and preferences. Other ethnic groups require a full range of housing
alternatives in order to satisfy the needs and preferences of the population.

A. First Choices and Second Choices

The preferences of DHHL applicants are known (See Table 17). If DHHL were to provide
housing for all of the 1 2,999 applicants in this study according to the needs expressed by
survey respondents. Table 1 7 shows the results. The total housing stock might include as



Som« hav* airtadY que«tion«d tha traditional policy. Sa«, for axampla, 'Homalands Rentals: Good Idea, Long
Overdue', editorial. Honolulu Advertieer. March 23, 1995.

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many as 30 percent multifamily units to augment about 8,500 single family units. If DHHL
were to build the homes for applicants who prefer that option, the Department would have
to provide about 4,300 units, 44 percent of which might be multifamily units. Applicants
who expect DHHL to supply the units, being less qualified to secure financing, are more
willing to accept multifamily units.

B. Some Specific Building Strategies

The study also gathered information on housing strategies that have not been part of the
traditional DHHL arsenal. We now summarize those issues from a policy point of view.

Multifamily Housing Units

There are several reasons for considering multifamily housing units as part of DHHL's
housing strategy. Multifamily units have a relatively lower unit construction cost than
single family units. That means more units can be built with the same land, budget, and
time constraints. From the applicant's point of view, multifamily units solve housing
problems faster and more efficiently.

To effectively serve the beneficiaries, DHHL will have to build some multifamily units.
Even to satisfy applicants' first choices, DHHL would have to build about 420 multifamily
units. To comply with their wishes to use multifamily as a means of quickly getting on the
land, DHHL would have to build as many as 4,271 multifamily units.

When we asked all applicants and lessees if DHHL should adopt multifamily units as part
of their housing strategy, 42 percent of applicants and 38 percent of lessees agreed. Even
among those who would not want to own a multifamily unit, some see the need for
including multifamily units in the DHHL stock.



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2. Kupuna Housing Units

Kupuna housing is popular among DHHL beneficiaries. Asked directly, 66 percent of
applicants and 67 percent of lessees felt DHHL should provide housing for elderly
beneficiaries. When asked if someone in their household would like to live in a kupuna
unit, about 23 percent said yes. That may indicate a need for as many as 3,000 kupuna
units among current beneficiaries. About eleven percent of applicants are over 65 years of
age. Among those people, 64 percent felt DHHL should build kupuna units and 30 percent
said they would be interested in living in one.

Our experience in research for elderly housing says the concept is difficult to unravel.
Calling it 'kupuna^°' housing only complicates things. Biases and preconceptions about
'elderly housing', already interwoven with questions about health care among the elderly,
are further complicated by the reverence for kupuna In the Hawaiian community. The
focus groups showed that the needs of kupuna are considered to be very important in the
Hawaiian community, and that there are problems with Kupuna housing as a DHHL option.
A viable housing policy without provision for housing the elderly would be impossible.
Kupuna housing as a way to get applicants off the list is difficult to conceptualize.

3. Rentals

The surveys did not address the issue of rental housing. About three percent of the
respondents requested apartments as their first-choice solution. That might indicate a
need for as many as 385 rental units just to fill first-choice needs. The financial
qualifications analysis suggested that there may be some applicants who will never be able
to finance a home. Since such people exist in the general population, it is no indictment to
expect that there will be such persons in the beneficiary population. The alternative to
rental housing would t>e a 100 percent housing subsidization for some beneficiaries. No



Th« word *kupuna' means ancestor, grandparent, or anv relative of the grandparent'e generation. In general it has
a positive or even reverent conrwtation, and tends to evoke positive responses to survey questions. 'Qderty
housing', on the other hand leftds to gertarate nagativa response. The true housing need will be somewhere
between the two. :•

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one in the focus groups wanted rental housing as a solution for OHHL beneficiaries unless
it was part of a rent-to-own program.

C. The IMPACT OF RANKING ON POUCIES: HOUSING FOR WHOM

The current policy at DHHL is 'first come first served'. Applicants are given a rank when
they sign up that corresponds to their place in line. If an award is offered and deferred,
the ranking is not changed. The mail survey found that among current applicants, 25
percent had deferred an award at some time.

To the extent that individuals defer awards, the first-come-first-served system tends to
concentrate on applicants who are less able or less willing to accept awards near the top
of the list. Those individuals have an Increased probability of being offered the next
available properties, and persons who are highly qualified to accept units remain further
down the list. This makes the distribution process somewhat inefficient.

There may now be an opportunity to begin discussions of how the ranking system might
be changed to increase efficiency. The applicant survey showed a slight majority in favor
of letting those who defer an award drop to the bottom of the list. Focus groups
indicated interest in other selection systems including lotteries and making awards to those
most qualified to accept them. The present system has its supporters, however, and
changes should not be attempted without meaningful input from all beneficiaries.

D. UNIT Locations

The geography of housing need is determined primarily by the number of applications per
geographic area. The applications profiles show that about 35 percent of the
Department's effort should be on O'ahu, 32 percent on the Big Island, 19 percent on
Maui, 10 percent of Kaua'i, and 4 percent on Moloka'i. The types of units that should be
considered for each island also differs. The majority of the non-SFD housing options
should occur on O'ahu. Applicants on the other islands are less interested in alternatives
to single family housing.

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Geography has another effect. DHHL staff have noted that applicants for awards on their
home islarKl are less likely to defer. Most applicants choose their own island as first
choice. However, because the large 0"ahu and out-of-state applicants prefer rural areas,
many Neighbor Island applications are off-island. This is especially true for Maui.

It is definitely appropriate to develop housing and land policies with separate objectives
and for applicants on each island.



VI. OTHER ISSUES

Several issues arose from the study that were unanticipated. The three described below
were important to beneficiaries, and need to be brought to the attention of planners and
managers at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

A. Management

Reading between the lines of the surveys, there are a substantial number of lessees who
consider the Department to be their landlord. Many of these have some expectations that
DHHL will function as a property manager for Home Lands.

First, lessees tend to use the language of renters in their survey responses. They referred
to 'paying my rent" or the amount of 'DHHL rent requirements', rather than mortgage
payments or lease fees. Second, many lessees expressed criticism of the Department for
failing to take care of property management issues such as removing fallen branches,
requiring neighbors to abide by community restrictions, and even fixing plumbing when it
goes bad.

It has been our observation that DHHL is not set up to be property manager for the Home
Lands. That may lead to continuing problems with lessees. As more people move onto
the land, the disaffection Is likely to increase.



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B. Communications

Two sources of data - the beneficiary mailed survey and the focus groups - included
opportunity for beneficiaries to bring issues to the fore. The issue most often mentioned
was the importance of communication from DHHL to the beneficiaries. In the mailed
survey the issue had three components: (1) communication is important because there are
many things that beneficiaries must know in order to take advantage of their entitlement;
(2) communications are less than effective; and (3) communications are usually not
initiated by the Department. Participants in the focus groups agreed, and provided some of
their most eloquent comment on this issue.

Judging from some of the focus group respondents' comments, direct communications
may be the most appropriate way to communicate with beneficiaries. As part of the
study, we did investigate the current media habits of Hawaiians living in the State. The
results of that investigation suggest that native Hawaiians are least likely to be contacted
through print media. They are more likely to be watching televisions or listening to radio.
Their TV viewing habits show them to be easiest to reach through news formats or cable
TV. Their radio habits, not surprisingly, show they most often listen to one of Hawaii's
Hawaiian music radio stations. This presents a dilemma, since personal or direct
communications are less suited to broadcast media. Perhaps what is needed is a
communications strategy that features front-line broadcast for major announcements, and
newsletters and personal contacts for the details.

C. Image and Service Qualtty

During the planning stages of this project, there was considerable concern about the image
of the Department and beneficiaries' assessment of DHHL service. If the beneficiaries
were seriously disaffected with the Department, it was reasoned, communicating and
executing new policies might be difficult. That might Indicate a need for Image building
prior to policy implementation. Sections of the surveys and the focus groups were
devoted to measuring beneficiary reaction to those issues.



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The surveys found that many of the beneficiaries think quite highly of the Department of
Hawaiian Home lands. Asked to evaluate several agencies that serve the needs of native
Hawaiians in the State, most respondents graded DHHL as high or higher than other
agencies. Asked to name an agency that was particularly effective in serving the needs of
Hawaiians, DHHL ranked third among those well-known agencies.

Asked to evaluate service they received from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands,
beneficiaries usually gave the Department high C's or low B's. Their evaluation of the
Department's friendly service and knowledgeable staff were considerably higher than on
the issue of getting the job done.

Compared with studies we have done for corporations and government agencies in Hawaii,
the image and service rankings of DHHL were satisfactory but not outstanding. The
findings do not indicate that there is a serious image or confidence problem among
beneficiaries. The service grades suggest no real problems, but a distinct lack of
excellence. It would be advisable to work on service excellence at DHHL. It would not be
advisable to develop an image-building campaign. The beneficiaries are more likely to
respond positively to new policies to get land into the hands of Hawaiians or to develop
more comprehensive housing alternatives.



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sms



Consulting

Financial Consulting

Training

Database Marketing

Soc,o-Econom,cStua,es TECHNICAL REPORT

Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
BENEFICIARY NEEDS STUDY. 1995



Prepared for:

Department of Hawaiian Home Lands

_„. „ , . September, 1 995

SMS affiliations: *^

CiK Raarth
Cialomer ImiQht Company
Dtt Designs
Oonoelly Marialing Ik
IntemttioMl Sumy Beseardi
Simmons Mailcel

KeseutH Bantu. Inc. gMS / 1042 Fort Street Mall. Suite 200 / Honolulu. Hawaii 96813

S»i*f>c Mtpulm. Inc. Telephone (808) 537-3356 / FAX (808) 537-2686 / Compusene 73444- 1373 1 Internet SMSmLOHANET

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Survey Method

Much of the data reported for this study was derived from four separate surveys
conducted among the beneficiary' population at the Department of Hawaiian Home
Lands (DHHL). Those surveys included:

1 . A mailed, self-administered survey of applicants for DHHL Homestead Lease
Awards.

2. A mailed, self-administered survey of DHHL lessees.

3. A telephone survey of applicants for DHHL Homestead Lease Awards.

4. A telephone survey of DHHL lessees.

This section of the report describes the methods used to complete those surveys.

Survey Instruments

All four survey instruments were developed by SMS Research in consultation with the
staff of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Throughout the development
process, there was ample opportunity for a wide range of interested persons to have
input to the process. There were several sessions held with broad representation from
DHHL administration, the individual divisions, and representatives from lessee and
applicant organizations. Each instrument went through several draft stages, with
broad distribution to interested persons at each stage. We are indebted to the many
participants in this process for their energy and wisdom, and we accept full
responsibility for any omissions that may have occurred.

The general strategy of the survey effort was to gather initial data on as large a group
as possible, and to use that first-round information to develop the telephone survey.

Copies of the survey instrument are presented in this report following this description
of the survey methods.



Applicant Mail Survey

The applicant and lessee mail surveys were actually prepared as a single document
with separate sections for each group. The common sections were used to identify
respondents in terms of their relationship to DHHL , their evaluation of DHHL services
and activities, and their demographic and economic characteristics. The applicant



The term 'beneficiary' refers to all persons benefiting from DHfIL activities and services. It
include both the applicants for land awards and the lessees, those who have already received
awards.

TKJwIcal Rep ort: DHHL Bwwfictafv N«Klm Study 1995 . . Eiatt

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section of the instrument was developed to gather information on housing need and
expectations of the OHHL process.



Lessee Mail Survey

Lessees answered both the common sections and their own section. The items on the
lessee section of the instrument were developed to gather the first round of
information on the characteristics and living conditions of current lessees.



Applicant Telephone Survey



Information form the mail surveys showed that the strategy of inquiry needed to be
quite different for applicants and lessees in the telephone survey component.
Therefore two separate instruments were developed. The development of both
instrument received the same attention to user needs as characterized the
development of the mail surveys.

The applicant survey was concentrated on measuring housing need, preferences, and
qualifications within the applicant group. It also introduced a more comprehensive list
of DHHL housing policy alternatives for evaluation by the applicants. It also continued
and expanded upon the mail survey effort to measure applicant evaluations of DHHL
services to Hawaiians.

The instrument content was developed first in standard questionnaire format, and then
translated into a format suited to Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI).



Lessee Telephone Survey

The lessee survey was a very complex document that required separate section for
common items, and for items for use by two separate groups of lessees: (a) lessees
who are currently on DHHL land; and (2) lessees who have received a Homestead
Lease Award, but have not yet occupied their award. The latter group was
disproportionately comprised of persons who receive land awards during the
accelerated grants period of the mid-eighties. Many had not yet been able to arrange
for or finance the construction of homes on their land.

The questions for lessees who were already on the land concentrated on the types of
homes they had built or bought, the extent of subsequent improvements to the
property, and the extent to which lessees were satisfied with their homes and their
neighborhoods. Questions for lessees who were living on the land were very similar
to those used for the applicant surveys, concentrating on housing needs, preferences,
and qualifications. The survey sections common to both groups included the items
used to evaluate DHHL housing policy alternatives and DHHL services.

T«ctinic»l Report DHHL Benefieafv NMdt Stud y 1995 OOSJ

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Sampling



The sampling frame for all four surveys was the set of beneficiary files maintained by
the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Namely, the sampling frame for mail survey
was a subset of those files selected at the end of the month of December 1994, and



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on IndiNative Hawaiian housing and home lands : hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress, second session, on housing needs of Native Hawaiians, July 3, 1996, Honolulu, HI → online text (page 10 of 34)