Affordable Housing on Maui, Non-Profits & The Monkey Pox in Hawaii on Betty's Real Estate Corner - Sakamoto Properties

Affordable Housing on Maui, Non-Profits & The Monkey Pox in Hawaii on Betty’s Real Estate Corner

Home » Betty’s Hawaii Real Estate Corner » Affordable Housing on Maui, Non-Profits & The Monkey Pox in Hawaii on Betty’s Real Estate Corner
August 4, 2022
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Betty Sakamoto: Welcome to Betty’s Real Estate Corner, brought to you by Coldwell Banker Sakamoto Properties. Specifically, Roy and Betty Sakamoto. We just this instant walked into the studio. It’s been crazy. We’ve been stuck in traffic. And welcome to Maui.

Roy Sakamoto: Welcome to Maui.

BS: It’s a crazy, crazy moment when we get stuck in traffic on Maui. Here we are, and it’s kind of fun to be here. We had Cindy Paulos sitting here ready, and she was all set to at least get this program started for us, but she’s raced and escaped.

RS: Yeah, and Chris Meyer from Meyer Computer is here taping us. Thank you, Chris.

BS: And solving all of our computer issues and keeping our website up. I can’t even tell you everything that he does because I’m just not that smart. He is amazing, and has a great business Meyer Computer you can find them at it is perfect. If you have some needs that you think they might be able to service I’m sure there’s a website out there too that will give you a little more information. He was on time, so here we are. Today, I’m not sure exactly what’s going on. We have Dr. Norm Estin checking in today and he’s going to catch us up a little bit on what’s going on now with the new virus in town.

RS: Yeah, the monkeypox.

BS: Monkeypod, I mean I can barely say monkey pod and think about it.

RS: Monkeypox.

BS: Monkeypox that’s right. See, I can’t say it. It’s obviously it’s horrible. It’s one more thing and I think we’re going to all have to pay attention to it. If nothing else, let’s all keep being conscious of our health and conscious of where we’re going and keeping masking when we can. We probably don’t have to be twenty-four-seven at this point, but anyway, Norm is going to let us know what’s happening, so he should call in.

RS: Yeah, monkeypox is a big issue right now. The World Health Organization has declared a health emergency on that, and the US also has just declared that.

BS: A health emergency for the United States.

RS: Right

BS: Right. I think we’ve all got to, again, just start watching ourselves because it does seem like it’s a horrible issue.

RS: Right, and from what I understand, there’s a limited supply of vaccines. Norm can update us on that too.

BS: Perfect. And then we’re going to maybe do a few real estate things, chat a little about.

RS: Yeah. As usual, we have to talk about some Maui nonprofits that serve our community. Hale Makua again if you go to great organization for the frail and elderly of Maui. Go to

BS: When we say from Maui frail and elderly when we first got attached to Maui to Hale Makua when Roy’s mom was sick. It was a really interesting thing to me because it really isn’t always just about the older, frail, and elderly it could be anyone. Early on, a young man, his last name was Luna. I’ll think of his first name in a minute, and it troubles me that I don’t. But he was a quadriplegic young man who had been injured on the Big Island in a jeep accident. He worked over there, and he ended up in Hale Makua until he passed away. He couldn’t really speak, but somehow, he knew you got to where you could understand what he was trying to say. He meant a lot to us maybe because he was young. He was just a young man that was stuck there. He also, in his own way made everybody happy because anything you did for him you could tell he was saying thank you. Aloha. Mahalo.

RS: Right and compassionate care. Hale Makua and compassionate care go hand in hand. If you have anyone who is frail, elderly, or in need of rehab, call on Hale Makua. It’s a fantastic organization. We’ve been involved for I don’t know forty years or so.

BS: Yes

RS: What a great organization. As well as the Maui Food Bank. We keep talking about the hungry on Maui. We as citizens of Maui have to help our citizens, our fellow citizens. The Maui Food Bank is fantastic what a great organization. Contribution of twenty-five dollars they feed a hundred people. Imagine that for every twenty-five dollars they feed a hundred people. they’ll give you ideas on how to contribute either time or money or groceries.

BS: Yes

RS: All of the above are much needed.

BS: I think it’s fairly easy to get things dropped off and to see to it that what you want to contribute is there. You know, Roy, I saw that you had made a note here of the philosophy of Hale Makua. Which is “as a leader in customized care we inspire well-being and independence, distinguished by the quality of our team, while striving to improve the lives of those in our care through compassionate, personalized health services in our homes and yours”. I think that’s really beautiful.

RS: That’s what Hale Makua is all about, absolutely. It’s a philosophy that’s carried on from the late forties.

BS: The early forties really. Right after World War II when the hospitals were closed, and they had nowhere to be. We’ve talked about this because I find it really amazing. It was the Buddhist church that originally stepped in and provided the basements from their church as a place to take care of the frail and elderly. That of course meant that members of the church had to be stepping in also.

RS: Right

BS: Later

RS: Wailuku Hongwanji.

BS: Was that the first?

RS: Right

BS: Well, I mean, it’s all an amazing story, and from that came Hale Makua. Anytime that I’ve been there, the care for everyone is unbelievable. When Roy’s mom was there, she was taken care of perfectly, or as perfectly as she could ever do under all these circumstances. As a family, it’s always, always hard. But your dad, they took care of dad just because she was very young for what had happened, and it was an early onset Alzheimer’s as I recall.

RS: Right

BS: They really took such good care of her and made her final days, I think very, very caring.

RS: That’s Hale Makua.

BS: That’s Hale Makua.

RS: and are two fantastic organizations for Maui.

BS: Now are we going to do any real estate today?

RS: One more thing I want to talk about. Now we’re on the elections.

BS: Yes

RS: Elections are coming up. Here in Maui, as in many areas of the country. We are facing a critical shortage of affordable housing. Betty and I were just on a zoom meeting this morning with a national real estate publication. That was one of the issues we discussed, affordable housing. It’s not only on Maui there are other areas on the mainland mostly concentrated around high-end resort areas. Like Park City, Aspen, Jackson Hole, Wyoming where affordable housing is a horrible issue and we are facing that right here in Maui right now. Listen to your politicians. The people running for county council, people running for state offices. Listen to who is a big proponent of affordable housing. A lot of people put lip service to that. We need affordable housing everybody shakes their head, yes, but very few people actually do something. I know our County Council. I know Alice Lee, our county chairperson. Our council chairperson is a big proponent for affordable housing. Listen to who else is running and affordable housing is a hot issue.

BS: It is an interesting time. I mean, well we do. I mean we all talk about how many people that it’s because of the very expensive homes and it’s because of tourism, etcetera because of our visitors, that this is all happening. It’s not just about that I don’t think. It’s about way more because we need affordable housing, but we need it in a number of areas. One of the first has to be some sort of housing that will help with the homeless situation that’s going on all around the island, on beaches, on the road I mean you drive by it’s very difficult. There has to be a way for an area like this where we’re obviously getting people who come here that have no possibility of having a home. There has to be some sort of housing that’s a first that comes before. There have to be different stages of it. Don’t you think, Roy?

RS: Absolutely

BS: I mean, you made something like right now if there could be a way to set up some of these people that are homeless on the beach, maybe some of them are happier there. Let’s just say I don’t think that’s very money. Then it goes from there we’ve got people with jobs, but there’s no way they can rent an apartment. There has to be a way that we find that we can do maybe something like they’ve done in Japan, and I think other large cities, Tokyo, etcetera. Where they’ve done these small places that are like tiny homes but tiny apartments. There’s got to be a way that we can make some of that happen as a community.

RS: Well, the island nation of Singapore that we’ve been fortunate enough to visit a few times. They do a great job as far as supporting their local citizens regardless of their income levels. Oftentimes herein in the United States, we do these affordable housing projects and in five years they look like slum housing. Singapore is a shining example. Where I mean these are great apartment buildings, the grounds are well maintained, and the apartments are well maintained. It’s fantastic. It’s not a magic stick that Singapore has. It’s caring. Where you have the government caring for their citizens.

BS: No question, Roy. That’s a great statement because you can see that even in the lower-income apartment buildings or if there are any little lower-income condominiums. Everything that you see there’s nobody taking care of it. I mean, you need to have someone that’s managing it. someone that’s actually there and helping someone when they need help whatever that is. Seeing to it that the lobbies are cleaned, the elevators work, and the stairways are clean. It’s not going to be magic, but there has to be a way it happens, and that probably is going to require help from Maui help from the county.

RS: Well, the county.

BS: The state

RS: The state. Sure, absolutely.

BS: There just has to be ways and we need to any of us who are fortunate enough to have a home. We have to help with these things whether it’s some sort of housing assistance or contributions or support of what Roy was saying before the politicians who are moving in that direction and will pay attention to it.

RS: Right. I’ve been a proponent for years where affordable housing developments for single-family homes. What’s wrong with having sub-sized lots? Say 3,500 to 5,000 square feet where it’s affordable for a developer to come in subdivide into say 3,500 square feet and put up a 1,500 or 1,800 square foot house and sell it at an affordable price. There are various income brackets for qualifications for affordable housing and I think Maui County has to be at the forefront of doing something like that. We don’t need affordable homes on 10,000 square feet where a developer will have to pay just to get all the offsite and onsite improvements are horrendous price. Now all of a sudden, he’s got to sell these homes at $800,000 or whatever to even break even. That’s not fair to a developer and that’s not affordable housing.

BS: No, I agree with you. Though, there is a way to make a small three-bedroom home, hopefully, two bathrooms, and have laundry even if it’s in a small garage. A one-car garage with maybe one car outside. There’s got to be a way to make this happen. It also needs to have some sort of follow-up so that it’s cared for. It may be that no matter what we’re doing, there is a segment of the population that it’s always going to be difficult because they don’t have time. You know, they’re working two jobs, husband and wife. They have several children, they don’t really have a lot of childcare. They’re racing all the time. We need to also support our government and seeing to it that these places continue to be cared for.

RS: A great prototype of this development is Napilihau in Napili.

BS: Yes

RS: It was initially developed by Maui Land and Pineapple as affordable housing for their employees. These are 3,500 to 4,000 square foot lots and the homes themselves are fairly.

BS: Probably a thousand maximum.

RS: Yeah, 1,200 1,400 square feet that’s affordable housing. It’s great.

BS: There’s no closed garage, but there is a covered area and it’s a neighborhood that when you drive in there, I think it’s a pleasure. You drive into Napilihau there are children playing everywhere. They are running, they are playing, they’re backing off the street so you can drive through. They kind of give you a shaka. The kids are darling, there are dogs and cats.

RS: And parks

BS: And parks. There are parks that are there and then there are ravines that surround it. I’m sure there are still enough ravines around Maui that we can figure out housing in that direction also. The kids play there, and the dogs go there. It’s another spectacular thing. Napilihau it’s really great.

RS: Right, our real estate show has turned into an editorial.

BS: Well, that’s okay too.

RS: Yeah

BS: I think we’ve got Doctor Norm calling hopefully shortly. We were on the phone with them, and it looks like he may be checking in right now and he’s going to get us updated. He’s done so much for our community because of the virus. Hey, Dr. Norm, I was just telling whoever is listening today a little bit about you and how much you’ve done for the community since the start of the pandemic. He sees to it that people got vaccinated where they could go etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Now he’s going to step up again and try to tell us about monkeypox. Are you there, Dr. Norm?

Dr. Norman Estin: I’m here. Good morning, Betty and Roy. Good afternoon. Nice to hear your voice and all that. We’ve got a couple of updates. I’ll talk for a minute or two back where we are with covid and a little bit about monkeypox and what the future holds. COVID is not over. We may be over it, but it is not over us, but the serious part is over. Most of us in this country and this state have immunity from having had vaccinations and then having been exposed, let’s say 95% of us. That is great, great news. We still have to be careful around strangers in crowded places, especially indoors without ventilation because it’s spread through the air. So again, a rule of thumb, try to have ventilation. If there are a lot of people around or you’re traveling, you might want to wear a mask as the people do in Asia all the time. I think it’s going to do what we expected, which is mutate every two weeks and they’ll be a different version. That means we’ll probably have to get a vaccine periodically, hopefully just once a year. That will keep us from getting any of the new series variants, just like the flu. We can’t put it out of our minds, we just have to stay attentive. It is spread through the air and as long as we have people coming in from all over the world and we travel we’re going to keep getting exposed to it. It’s another two years that we forget about. All right, there’s no way around that. Occasionally people will get sick, but they’re not going to get definitely yelled at. If you haven’t had a vaccine or your boosters, go ahead and get them now just so you can stay protected. That’s the update on COVID for now. Everybody’s going to get it. Look at the president he had vaccines and boosters, and he got it. He got treated and he got it again. There’s nothing to prevent people from getting it again even after the past covid treatment. It’s going to happen to a lot of people. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t take care of somebody who’s got it or just got exposed to somebody or put somebody on treatment. If you can’t get a hold of your regular doctor, just go to our website that’s the doctor on call website. We can do it by telemedicine, you can stay at home. Your insurance will cover it all gets paid for, you can get evaluated and treated if you want, if you’re positive, even with a home test. Now, monkeypox. Monkeypox is a totally different kettle of fish. Okay? The family of coronavirus is respiratory and keeps changing. The monkeypox virus comes from the pox virus and is very similar to cowpox and smallpox. They change as well but they’re spread totally differently. They are spread through direct contact and they’re not airborne. It is spread often and in most cases through sexual activity, usually gay or homosexual activity, or people who come in contact with them. It’s a germ, and it can be spread by clothing or towels. That’s not true for the coronavirus. It can be spread through furniture, clothing, or towels. The people at risk are people who come in direct contact with people who have monkeypox, which is a terrible name. It’s not going to go away. They’re not going to be able to change it. It’s been around too long. They were able to change the name of the Brazil strain and the Africa strain and use Greek letters, but they’re not going to be able to do this with monkeypox. The only people that really need the vaccine, which is available in small amounts, are people who are tremendously at risk. If you’re exposed to a lot of gay people, or you’re exposed to a lot of strangers who may be around gay people, or you’ve had direct contact and then you get the vaccine. There’s one brand and you need two doses two weeks apart. It’s not for everybody. Even though the WHO has declared this to be an outbreak around the world or a true epidemic, it doesn’t mean we all have to be worried. Just normal simple hygiene, washing your hands, and be careful of dirty surfaces around, especially if you’re around people who may have been exposed. Have we had monkeypox in Hawaii? Yes. Have we had it on Maui? Yes. Ever had a case and I know about our office? Yes. It’s out there but so it’s not going to go away. It’ll be around for a while, but it’s not going to affect most of us and most of it don’t need a vaccine and don’t have to be treated. There is a treatment that is around for serious cases but it’s nothing that’s going to affect most of us.

BS: Well, that’s a lot of information to handle, but I think we’ve got it. We’re now down to about the two-minute warning. But Norm, thank you very, very much for coming on again because I don’t really understand this one at all and certainly none of us understood coronavirus. We’ve certainly learned a lot. I guess we are officially a two-minute warning.

RS: Yeah, and many Mahalos Norm for all you do for Maui, for healthcare on Maui and to alert people, and keep alerting us about the coronavirus and now monkeypox. We depend on you for updated information.

BS: We depend on you for everything, and you’ve done that in the community Norm. In reality, you have. You’ve taken care of people always no matter what. Anyone’s been able to come into doctors on call and it’s been amazing. It’s amazing.

NE: Yeah. You’re very kind to recognize that. It’s an island we have to keep reminding ourselves that we have to take care of each other. The same people you see at Safeway or the people you’re going to see on the highway or around the way or whatever. And yet, at the same time.

BS: That’s it, we’ve got Danny Couch back on. That means we’re cut off Dr. Norm.

RS: Thanks, Norm.

BS: We will see you soon. Aloha.

RS: Aloha

BS: I love Hawaii. Danny couch.