The Realtors Association of Maui (RAM), in partnership with the County of Maui and the Maui Homeless Alliance, will sponsor the fourth annual Maui Landlord Summit on Wednesday, July 24, at the Maui Beach Hotel in Kahului. The free event is designed to empower property managers and current and prospective landlords so they can help address the urgent need for housing on Maui.

Finding safe and affordable housing can be a significant hurdle for low-income or homeless individuals and families on Maui. And while there are resources to assist them, many of these individuals still face the difficult task of finding a landlord who will approve their rental application. With that in mind, the summit aims to demystify and destigmatize the support services utilized by many low-income and homeless individuals in our community while educating landlords and property managers about the social service programs and services available to them.

“The first rung on the affordable housing ladder is affordable rentals,” said Jason Economou, RAM’s Government Affairs Director. “As advocates for housing, the Realtors Association of Maui believes it is our duty to try and increase the number of affordable rentals available to the most vulnerable members of our society.”

Underwritten by RAM and the National Association of Realtors, this year’s landlord summit will be hosted by Maui County Councilmember Mike Molina and will include remarks from Mayor Mike Victorino, County of Maui Director of Housing & Human Concerns Lori Tsuhako, Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers Executive Director Monique Yamashita, and Scott Morishige, the state’s homeless coordinator.

The summit will also include a panel discussion on landlord and tenant rights featuring local attorneys Loren Tilley, Benjamin Pittenger, Joshua James and Jason Economou, as well as a panel composed of landlords and tenants so attendees can hear directly from individuals who have been on both sides of the affordable housing divide. Additionally, RAM will honor a landlord or property manager who actively works with social service agencies to find rentals for individuals and families who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Last year, RAM recognized property manager Jessmine Kim as the 2018 “Housing Hero.” Kim has successfully housed a number of clients affiliated with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) and the Family Life Center. This year’s finalists are Leila Chin from Yoshida Realty Group, Claire Gibo from Maui Real Estate Group, Shanna Souza from Shore To Shore Realty, and Brandy Aki from Emerald Club Realty. All four were nominated for their willingness to go above and beyond to help those in need and for maintaining partnerships with social service programs.

Participants in this year’s Maui Landlord Summit include RAM, the Office of the Mayor, the County of Maui Department of Housing & Human Concerns, Maui Homeless Alliance, Catholic Charities Hawaii, Department of Veterans Affairs, Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers, Family Life Center, Mental Health Kokua, Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc., Women Helping Women, Legal Aid Society, Asian Real Estate Association of America, Housing Choice Voucher Program and the Steadfast Housing Development Corporation.

“By inviting landlords to this free event and providing them with the opportunity to meet with organizations committed to helping tenants, we hope to inspire at least some of these landlords to make their properties available to those whom they might otherwise overlook,” Economou said. “We want to show landlords that low-income and homeless individuals can be worthwhile tenants and that many of them have the support of some truly exceptional organizations behind them.”

The Maui News – July 15, 2019

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