The city is fighting to keep $15.9 million in federal funding after an audit found problems with its affordable housing management.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development says the city rushed to buy units at the Hibiscus Hill Apartments in Waipio and at the Kaneohe elderly apartments.
Even though the purchases weren't fully justified, city housing leaders are defending them by saying they were forced to rush in order to keep the projects from going on the market and increasing in price.
"The indisputable fact is that today, because of those transactions there is more affordable housing that is available," said Gary Nakata, City Community Services Director.
"In the grand scheme of things we've got one mission to help those we want to serve and I think we do it reasonably well," he said.
City leaders are now negotiating with HUD officials to avoid having to pay back the money spent on those affordable units.