Elderly and disabled tenants alarmed by proposed 48% rent hike

Serafina Smith
Serafina Smith
Joy Shuler
Joy Shuler

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

LILIHA (HawaiiNewsNow) - They don't have a lot of money but nearly 200 people at a low-income housing complex in Liliha are facing a rent hike.

Many of the residents at Keola Hoonanea are on fixed-incomes.

On Friday, they'll learn whether they'll have to start scrambling to find more money to continue living in their apartments.

Serafina Smith has lived in the federally-subsidized apartment complex since the Reagan Administration.

At age 91, she should be enjoying her golden years.

Instead, she's worried about getting by.

"This is insane that we have to pay for garden benches and lobby renovations and new fire extinguishers. That's not our responsibility," said Smith.

Those are three of nine maintenance reasons for a proposed 48% rent hike, outlined in a notice.

Property manager, Hawaiiana, sent it to residents last week.

Those paying $410 per month would see their rent jump $197.

And tenants who pay $515, would pay $247 more.

"I don't know how I'm going to manage because I'm paying off my car, I've got insurance on my car, I just had to up my warranty," said Smith.

It's just among a number of bills paid for by her social security and disability checks, and Smith is not alone.

"I get $776 a month in social security," said Joy Shuler, a Keola Hoonanea resident for 19 years.

Shuler says rent isn't all that's gone up recently.

"We paid no parking. Since Hawaiiana came in, we've had to pay $10 parking every month, $100 to register if you have an animal, cat dog and they keep raising our rent and our services are less," Shuler said.

Our call to Hawaiiana for comment was not returned.

But according to the notice, management plans to file for the rent hike on October 1st.

Tenants will have two weeks to give input.

They'll have that chance at two meetings on Friday.

One is at 9:00 a.m. and the other starts at 4:30 p.m.

If management still plans to go ahead with the rent hike after receiving resident input, it must be approved by HUD, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Division.

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