S.C.R. NO.



S.D. 1














     WHEREAS, in 1920, Congress enacted the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA), which created a land trust intended to enable displaced native Hawaiians to lease residential, agriculture, or pastoral homestead land from the trust for one dollar per year; and


     WHEREAS, when the Territory of Hawaii joined the United States in 1959, the State promised to take the responsibility for the management and disposition of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920.  In the years that followed, the State has struggled to carry out its duties and obligations as a trustee; and


     WHEREAS, to date, more than two thousand native Hawaiian beneficiaries have died while on the Hawaiian homes waiting list for a home land lease, and twenty-eight thousand beneficiaries currently remain on the list, half of which are over the age of sixty; and


WHEREAS, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands recently estimated that to house all beneficiaries on the waitlist, cost projections range between $4,000,000,000 to $12,000,000,000 for infrastructure alone; and


     WHEREAS, eliminating the waitlist for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has not been made a priority in past and current administrations.  The State's lack of effort to address the waiting list for a home land lease and mismanagement of the trust has caused native Hawaiian beneficiaries to languish; and


     WHEREAS, in 2009, the First Circuit Court held in Kalima v. State of Hawaii that the State breached its trust duties to keep and render accounts and failed to exercise reasonable care and skill in the administration of the trust, and make its trust properties productive.  The First Circuit Court also found that these breaches caused eligible native Hawaiians to remain on the waiting list for a home land lease and suffer damages as a result; and


     WHEREAS, in 2015, the First Circuit Court held in Nelson v. Hawaiian Homes Commission, that the State "must comply with its constitutional duty to make sufficient sums available to the Department of Hawaiian [Home Lands] for its administrative and operating budget."  Additionally, the court ruled that the State underfunded the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands by approximately $28,000,000 per year; and


     WHEREAS, on February 26, 2002, the Hawaiian Homes Commission approved a general plan prepared by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.  While the general plan includes an emphasis on the management of their existing land inventory, the general plan does not make explicit mention of providing lot development on a trajectory that will extinguish the waitlist; and


     WHEREAS, in the general plan, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands sought to generate $30,000,000 in land revenues annually (adjusted for inflation) by 2014 and use no more than one per cent of Hawaiian home lands for commercial and industrial uses by 2014; however the department has not accomplished either of those objectives; and


     WHEREAS, a May 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development finds that the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands' "shift to more expensive housing development may have exacerbated the problem of people staying on the waiting list for extended periods of time."  The report also found that even if beneficiaries have been offered a land lease during the past twenty years, they have not accepted land leases because they have been unable to secure the necessary mortgage loans for the home on the property, among other reasons; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands also failed to aggressively pursue diversification of housing awards for multifamily complexes, rentals, kūpuna housing, and supplemental dwelling units, in addition to turnkey style housing; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is respectfully urged to appropriate one hundred percent of lease revenue from commercial property uses to homeland lot development; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor and the Chairperson of the Hawaiian Homes Commission.

Report Title: 

Hawaiian Homes Commission; Homeland Lot Development