Billionaire Hands Out Keys to Oahu Homes - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Billionaire Hands Out Keys to Oahu Homes

by Kristine Uyeno

KAHALA (KHNL) - It's a big day for three, low-income families from West Oahu.

For the first time, they stepped into their new, multi-million-dollar homes, thanks to Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto.

Dorie-Ann Kahale and her five kids received the keys to their new home. Just months ago, they were homeless, living on the beach in Nanakuli.

"Everybody on the westside is like, 'where is Kahala?' Nobody knows where is Kahala," said Zandi Kahale, daughter.

Now they're residents of this 3,400-square-foot home in Honolulu's richest neighborhood. And the biggest shock? They'll be living there, rent-free.

It's courtesy of their new landlord. Kawamoto will rent eight of his multi-million-dollar homes to low-income, Native Hawaiian families. He planned to charge them $150 for rent but changed his mind.

"I was in shock, overwhelmed. I'm still in shock, I have to pinch myself," said Kahale.

The real estate investor gives his new tenant another surprise, a thousand dollars in cash.

"You don't feel any negative atmosphere around them," said Kawamoto.

He also greeted two other tenants. The Worley's from Waianae stepped into their Kahala Avenue home and down the street, the Gusman's sit in their lap of luxury. The families will be able to live in the homes for up to 10 years.

The Kahala residents we talked to say, they don't mind these families moving into the neighborhood. They just don't think Kawamoto is doing this for the right reasons.

"Why doesn't he go out to the coast out there and say, 'I want to help you' and put some transitional housing? This is just a publicity play," said Mark Blackburn, Kahala resident.

But for these new Kahala residents, it's a dream come true.

"Just to love, appreciate and take care of what we have. I mean as fast as we got it, it can be taken away," said Kahale.

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