A majority of this article was taken from an article written by Rob Shikina of The Star Advertiser
Tenants who reside in the any of city’s 12 affordable-housing properties can expect to pay more rent when private companies take over the properties, according to city officials. To prevent rents from increasing dramatically and to keep the units affordable, a cap on annual rent hikes will be part of the lease for the properties, the officials said Wednesday at a meeting for Chinatown Gateway residents.
The latest meeting was attended by only about 50 people, all of whom were there to be a part of the first in a series of meetings that will be held at each of the city’s affordable-housing properties, giving residents a chance to ask questions specific to their buildings.
The rent hike will mainly affect Chinatown Gateway, at Nuuanu Avenue and Hotel Street, which has about 200 units, both market-rate and moderate- and low-income units.
“I know there’s a lot of anxiety for everybody,” said Eileen Higa, who lives in a low-rent apartment in the building. “At least now we have a little more of an idea of what the city is looking for in terms of buyers.”
Sam Moku, director of the city Department of Community Services, said the city wants to get out of affordable housing and lease the properties to private companies to improve the condition of the buildings and stop the loss of money. The city, which owns about 1,200 affording-housing units, loses about $3 million a year on them, Moku said.
The city plans to release a request for proposals at year’s end, and the properties could be leased by late 2012.
Seamus Murphy, 52, who lives in a market-rate rental in Chinatown Gateway, is skeptical about how fast building improvements could be made by a private owner because of the rent hike caps, but he supported the venture. “I can understand it,” he said. “It makes financial sense.”
Sky Cichoski, 33, who pays $760 for a one bedroom affordable unit, said he was concerned about how much influence residents would have should the new management do a poor job.
He also wanted to know how much officials expect the rent to increase. “That’s what everybody wanted to hear about,” he said. “That’s what nobody wanted to say.”
Want to Be Heard?
A series of meetings will be held at each of the city’s affordable-housing properties, giving residents a chance to ask questions. All meetings are scheduled from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.:
>> Pauahi Hale, today
>> Marin Tower, Wednesday
>> Winston Hale, Sept. 19
>> Kanoa Apartments, Sept. 20 >> Kulana Nani, Sept. 21
>> Chinatown Manor, Sept. 26
>> West Loch Elderly/ Bachelors Quarters (at West Loch Elderly), Sept. 28
>> Harbor Village (at Pauahi Rec Center), Oct. 3
>> Westlake Apartments (at Moanalua High School), Oct. 5
>> Manoa Gardens, Oct. 10