Hawaii says 30 Lahaina fire survivors are moving into housing a day, but 3,000 still in hotels


HONOLULU (AP) – Airport Gov. Josh Green said Wednesday that about 3,000 people displaced by the Lahaina wildfires are still living in hotels more than seven months later. august flame But every day 30 people are moving to long-term housing.

Green said at a news conference that the state and federal government have prepared enough long-term rental units to shelter all those people, including one of 11 hotels currently housing the survivors. State and federal governments are also building some modular transitional housing units for displaced residents. Green said he expects all displaced residents to leave the hotel by July 1.

There were approximately 8,000 Lahaina residents. staying in 40 hotels In the days immediately following the fire.

There is a severe housing shortage in Maui. In West Maui, most of the housing that exists has been used as vacation rentals for tourists. Green threatened in December Use “Hammer” Emergency orders were put in place to ban Maui short-term rentals if enough property owners did not make their units available to Lahaina residents.

But Greene said Wednesday that such a ban would not be necessary. He said there are contracts for 1,300 units in the state and the number of homes in hotels has dropped to less than 1,300.

An issue now, Green said, is that many of the available rentals are not in West Maui, and some Lahaina residents turn them down because they want to live near their jobs and their children’s schools.

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“A lot of people have been offered an apartment, housing, and they’ve declined it because it’s too far from West Maui, or it doesn’t fit their family situation,” Green said.

Green said people are being given four chances to accept the proposed accommodation and two chances to appeal a choice. He said some people have been rejected housing four, five and even six times. Green said officials are trying to be understanding because they don’t want to further disrupt people’s lives but that people will eventually have to leave the hotel.

“Once transitional housing comes online, honestly, people will have to move into them if they haven’t already left the hotel because it’s appropriate,” Green said. “We need resources so that we can build the next school, so that we can rebuild the clinics that were destroyed during the fire.”

The fire destroyed 3,971 properties and caused $4 billion to $6 billion in property losses.

Of these properties, 561 were occupied by landlords. One-quarter of that debris has already been cleared, Green said.

“This means they are going to get permits to begin reconstruction in Lahaina later this year,” Green said, while acknowledging that water, sewer and electric service will need to be restored to these locations. .

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