Ensuring affordable access to housing
"Shelter is a basic right, yet access to housing is a huge challenge.  We need to create more housing opportunities, and we need to preserve existing ones by supporting homeowners and renters during these challenging times."

Improved access to housing is an urgent need in Hawaii.  Housing costs in the state are among the highest in the nation, owning a home looms as the greatest financial challenge that most Hawaii residents will face, and too many individuals, including many Native Hawaiians and veterans, remain homeless.  As a member of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Senator Akaka is mindful of the distinct challenges that the people of Hawaii face and works to expand access to housing in Hawaii and across the country.  He also works to increase individual financial security by promoting responsible homeownership.


Senator Akaka is committed to expanding access to quality, affordable housing opportunities.  He supports federal homeownership promotion, rental assistance, and low-income housing efforts.  The Senator also remains a strong supporter of investment in sustainable and energy efficient housing.  Housing that is planned with energy, transportation, and environmental needs in mind lowers long-term costs, supports public health, and reduces travel times.

The greatest challenge facing Senator Akaka and his fellow Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee members is the restoration of confidence and stability to housing markets, which were at the root of the financial crisis and face continued sluggishness and uncertainty.  Senator Akaka and his colleagues on the Committee are continuing their efforts to reduce the number of foreclosures in the country.  This will require renewed oversight and monitoring of federal foreclosure prevention and homeowner assistance programs to ensure that they are responsive to the needs of homeowners and effective in providing lasting relief.  

The housing industry was at the root of the financial crisis that began in 2007 and 2008, and a fundamental overhaul of the housing finance and mortgage servicing systems may be needed to prevent another housing market collapse.  Senator Akaka will work to ensure that housing reform legislation leaves homeowners and renters better educated, protected, and empowered.  Individuals need to be better prepared for homeownership and equipped to make sound financial decisions about their housing needs.

Recent Accomplishments

Examining foreclosures and improving mortgage servicing.  Through the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Senator Akaka has overseen the federal regulatory response to persistently high rates of foreclosure and evidence of poor mortgage servicing practices.  This has led the Senator to examine mortgage servicing failures, including the misalignment of business practices with homeowner interests, and seek improvements in regulation and federal foreclosure prevention and homeowner assistance programs.  You may visit Senator Akaka's Statements and Speeches page to read his remarks at the Committee's mortgage servicing oversight hearings or visit the Committee's website for more information.

Senator Akaka has supported the Making Home Affordable program, which provides struggling homeowners with opportunities to modify or refinance their mortgage to make monthly payments more affordable.  The Senator recognizes that no program is perfect, and he has represented the interests of homeowners while working with the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, the Department of the Treasury, and the mortgage lending industry to bring greater responsiveness, efficiency, and effectiveness to the program.

Investing in Hawaii's Communities Through Housing.  Senator Akaka has advocated for additional resources for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant, which is administered in Hawaii by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL).  DHHL is the largest affordable housing developer in the state of Hawaii.  While these resources provide only about one-tenth of DHHL's spending, they are extremely important to providing more homeownership opportunities for residents of our state.

Senator Akaka worked with his colleagues on the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee to authorize a financial education and pre-homeownership counseling program in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-289).  Senator Akaka and Senator Inouye then secured a $3.15 million demonstration grant for Hawaii in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (P.L. 111-117) under the new authority.  The funds were awarded to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement for its Hawaii Family Finance Project by the Department of the Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions Fund through a competitive grant process.  The program serves low-income families wherever they live in Hawaii.  Through financial education counseling, group training, and individual development accounts, the project will educate prospective homebuyers and foster financial stability and saving for both short- and long-term goals.  The project will serve over 3,000 prospective homebuyers in Hawaii.

Senator Akaka also strongly supports the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.  CDBG provides essential federal resources to help meet the specific needs of communities.  In Hawaii, our counties utilize CDBG resources to help provide affordable housing, assist the homeless, expand day care facilities, provide meals to low-income families, strengthen our medical infrastructure by making physical improvements to our community health centers, and expand opportunities to help individuals with disabilities find employment.

Additional Information

The Making Home Affordable program (http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/)

Housing counselors approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development can provide vital assistance and information to homeowners and renters.  A full list of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies located in Hawaii is available here:  (LINK)

HUD has also offers an exclusive page with information and resources for homeowners at risk of foreclosure.  (LINK)

Constituent Services

  • Washington D.C. Office
  • Honolulu Office
  • Hilo Office

United States Senate

141 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Telephone: (202) 224-6361

Fax: (202) 224-2126


Honolulu Office

300 Ala Moana Blvd., Rm. 3-106

Box 50144

Honolulu, HI 96850

Telephone: (808) 522-8970

Fax: (808) 545-4683


Hilo Office

101 Aupuni Street, Suite 213

Hilo, HI 96720

Telephone: (808) 935-1114

Fax: (808) 935-9064