Octogenarian among Section 8 tenants told to vacate affordable units

Updated: May. 9, 2017 at 8:08 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For Josephine Cabiles, Hawaii is home. The 84-year-old has never lived anywhere else.

But come Thursday, she'll board a plane bound for the mainland to live with a daughter and she's unsure when she'll be back, if ever.

The reason for her abrupt move?

She's being booted out of her longtime apartment because the owners no longer want to accept federally-subsidized rental vouchers.

"I really didn't want to move. I don't mind going on vacation. But I don't want to go to Vegas to stay.I mean everything is different," Cabiles said.

In January, in the midst of a project to add hundreds more units to Moanalua Hillside Apartments, Cabiles said she found a note tacked to her door.

It said when her lease was up at the end of May, the complex would no longer accept her Section 8 voucher.

The subsidy brought her monthly rent down to $136 a month.  Without the voucher, she'd have to pay $1,500.

For the past five months, her daughter been helping her look for a new unit. But all the Section 8 properties had long waiting lists.

The shortage of affordable housing has made it almost impossible for subsidized residents to find new homes.

"It's really hard because we have such a problem with homelessness, housing problems, cost of living problems," said Cabiles' daughter, Veronica Benkman. "It doesn't only affect seniors. It effects the whole population."

The change at Moanalua Hillside Apartments is putting several of Cabiles' neighbors in the same position.

"I think some of them had their notice before I did. A lot of them moved," Cabiles said. "I don't know if they're with their families or if they found places."

Section 8 officials say if a tenant doesn't find a landlord willing to accept the subsidy within 60 days of it being issued, they could lose the voucher.

Over the past two months Hawaii News Now has made multiple attempts to ask management at Moanalua Hillside why they're no longer accepting Section 8. No one has responded to those requests.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.