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House bill keeps Front Street housing affordable

By Staff | May 9, 2019

“With the cost of buying a home out of reach for many people, lawmakers know how important it is to support affordable housing,” said Rep. Angus McKelvey.

LAHAINA – The Hawaii House of Representatives last week Tuesday moved to ensure the continued availability of affordable rental housing on Maui, including the Front Street Apartments and the Villages of Leiali’i affordable housing project, by passing HB543 HD1 SD1 CD1.

Rep. Angus L.K. McKelvey (West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei), who was one of the bill’s introducers, said it is critical to protect the limited affordable housing available on Maui.

“Low-income families and the elderly need homes that are both affordable and secure,” said McKelvey.

“The Front Street Apartments were built using state financing with 142 affordable units and very nearly were moved to market rates. Lawmakers intend to make sure these homes remain affordable.”

The bill directs the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. to initiate negotiations and exercise its power of eminent domain to acquire the Front Street Apartments, unless the ground lease is renegotiated or a new lease is issued by Dec. 31, 2019.

In addition, the bill appropriates $37 million from the Rental Housing Revolving Fund for Fiscal Year 2019-20 to expedite and complete the construction of the Leiali’i affordable housing project in Lahaina by 2022.