The Conversation: The Challenges of Public Access in a Pandemic

Jan 21, 2021

Remote testimony at the State Legislature; State mismanagement of Native Hawaiian burial grounds; Reality Check: American Samoans can return home after quarantine in Hawaii; Maui County planning 5,000 affordable housing units in five years; The Rent and Relief Housing Assistance Program.
 



Remote testimony at the State Legislature

Credit daveiam/Flickr / CC 2.0 license


Physical restrictions due to the pandemic have created complications for public access. As state lawmakers open up the new legislative session, technology has helped in many ways. For instance, those from the neighbor islands no longer have the added expense of traveling to Oahu in order to participate in public testimony. Sandy Ma, head of Common Cause Hawaii, goes over the pros and cons of remote public access.

State mismanagement of Native Hawaiian burial grounds

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, chairwoman of the O’ahu Island Burial Council
Credit Mark Miller/Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Leaders of Hawai'i island's burial grounds are urging state lawmakers to investigate what they say is systemic and chronic mismanagement by the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD). The heads of the state's island burial councils organized a statewide protest this week. Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, chairwoman of the O'ahu Island Burial Council, says some of the issues that continute to plague SHPD are preventing her and her fellow councilmembers from doing their job.



 

Reality Check: American Samoans can return home after quarantine in Hawaii

Credit KeithH/WikimediaCommons / CC BY-SA 4.0


Nearly a year ago, American Samoa closed its borders in order to protect its population from COVID-19. While this isolation limited the spread of the virus, it also stranded many American Samoans who were abroad. Now, American Samoans will be able to return home after quarantining in Oahu. Civil Beat editor Chad Blair joins us with the story, originally reported by Anita Hofschneider. Read the full report here at civilbeat.org.
 


 

Maui County planning 5,000 affordable housing units in five years

Credit Noe Tanigawa / Hawaii Public Radio


The County of Maui is seeking community input on its plan to construct 5,000 affordable housing units in the next five years. Its Office of Council Services has contracted Hawaii Community Assets (HCA), a nonprofit that helps low- and moderate-income families find housing, to hold community meetings. Jeff Gilbreath, Executive Director of HCA, shares insight from those meetings and how residents can get involved.
 



 

The Rent and Relief Housing Assistance Program

Across the country, various programs funded by the CARES Act have been able to provide assistance to renters in need. And in a rare bit of good news, Hawaii has the distinction of having received the most rental assistance per capita in the country. Aloha United Way's Lisa Kimura discusses the impact of these programs on Hawaii's struggling renters.