Hawaii is facing a crisis because of a lack of affordable housing. So lawmakers met with a number of developers to find out what they can do get construction going.   

 Developers said too much red tape added time to projects and increases costs. They also asked for more financing funds and even affordable land for future housing developments.

In Kakaako, construction crews were busy putting the finishing touches on Keauhou Lane.

"It is a true mixed use community with 209 residential rental units, and we have 34,000 square feet of commercial space," said Brent Gaulke, a partner with Gerding Edlen.

In order to be eligible for the workforce housing, residents must make between 80 percent of the area median income which equals $83,680/year for a family of four, up to 100% of the AMI which is currently at $104,600.

For those who qualify for the studio, one and two bedroom apartments would have rental rates between $1288-$2108/month.

While the latest Kakaako project is nearly finished, many developers shy away from building workforce and affordable housing.

"Affordability is a huge challenge and it will be an even bigger challenge going forward. So the ability to deliver it and make it financially viable -- when that opportunity comes you have to jump on it," said Gaulke.

Hawaii has a huge need for more of this housing, but because these projects doesn't qualify for federal funds, like low income housing, it is up to the state to provide incentives to developers.

"Not many people want to build unsubsidized affordable housing," said Giovanni Mola, the Vice President of Coastal Rim Properties.

Lawmakers listened to suggestions for more affordable land, faster permit processing and increasing tax money that goes into the rental housing revolving fund. $38 million went in this year but lawmakers could raise the cap so more developers could tap into the money.

"We're in a crisis and we absolutely need every dollar we can get. So please lift that cap. That rental housing trust fund goes a long way," said Avalon Group CEO Christine Camp.

"If regulations were modified or shortened to reduce the development process, the shorter time line would reduce development costs and reduce the overall cost of housing in Hawaii," said Liz Char, a development officer with The Michaels Development Company.

Along with setting aside more money for affordable projects and speeding up the permit process, the state has another way to help.

"Individuals talked about the need for affordable land, and the state is in a position to provide affordable land," said Sen. Will Espero.
  Housing lawmakers on both the House and Senate sides plan to meet each month to draft legislation for the 2018 session.
   Meanwhile Keauhou Lane will start accepting rental applications on Friday August 18, and there will be a grand opening party on Wednesday August 23, before the first renters will be able to move in on September 1.