Kukui Garden Residents Get Relief

Carol Anzai
Carol Anzai
Kukui Gardens
Kukui Gardens

(KHNL) -- They say state lawmakers "answered their prayers" in the fight to keep their homes affordable, but those living in Kukui Gardens in Kalihi know their battle isn't over yet.

"Sometimes we got depressed cause things wasn't falling into place, but it is now," said Carol Anzai, president of the Kukui Gardens Association.

Lawmakers agreed on a plan where the state would buy the 857-unit complex.

A mainland investment company called "carmel Partners" is in the process of buying Kukui Gardens, but they are still waiting for government approval.

The company promised to keep the units affordable, but only til 2011.

"We don't just want it til 2011 -- we want it forever if that's possible," said Anzai.

Anzai said many of the tenants are seniors on a fixed income, or young families.

She said most of the people living there now wouldn't be able to go anywhere else if their rent was increased.

"We've had people from Kukui Gardens Corp., Carmel Partners and other people telling us not to worry, we're gonna keep it affordable," said Anzai.

"Not til it's in black and white, then we'll know for sure it's okay."

She said they've also got assurances from state Sen. Ron Menor, chair of the senate housing committee.

Menor told her lawmakers need to make a statement.

"If we don't pass this bill, we gonna give people the impression that we can just let things go and then affordability will go out the door," said Anzai.

"There's so many other people that need housing, so it's setting an example for them now."

Lawmakers will vote on the bill this week. If then needs to be approved by Governor Lingle.