Residents Reassured Their Homes Will be Safe

They live in affordable housing, but a sale of their building now has them living on edge. Thousands of elderly Oahu residents worry what will happen to them in the future.

But they receive reassurance from lawmakers on Saturday that they won't be left without a home.

"I feel really good because I don't think it's been this positive in a very long time," said Carol Anzai, of the Kukui Gardens Association.

Residents of Kukui Gardens have been hanging with the possible sale of their apartments. If the deal goes through, the complex would be affordable only until 2011.

Officials from Governor Lingle's administration and top lawmakers say their goal is to prevent that from happening.

"The lawmakers are very much interested because housing is a priority in both the house and senate," said Rep. Calvin Say, speaker of the house. "It's not only construction of affordable homes or rentals, but also preserving the ones that we have."

One plan is for the state to buy half of the 857-unit complex. Another allows the state to condemn the land.

"We're working to come up with the best plan to keep the project affordable," said Dan Davidson, executive director of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation. "There are a number of vehicles in the legislature, and we're confident we can get it done."

Whichever plan officials decide to go with, residents say they just hope something happens soon. and they don't end up without a home in four years.

"I feel very good," said Anzai. "I feel so positive that it's gonna happen, that we're not gonna have to worry, that it's going to be kept affordable forever."

There are several bills in the current legislative session to help the residents of Kukui Gardens. And a deal for the state to buy half of the complex could be done by the end of the month.