- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - Dozens of families have been selected to move into affordable units in a new Hawaii Kai development.

People cried and hugged as the names of 54 applicants were announced Wednesday, KHON-TV reported (https://bit.ly/1Fz9KDR). More than 200 applications were received for the residential development that is expected to be completed by mid-2016.

Two-bedroom units rent for $1,495 per month and three-bedroom units cost $2,336 a month.

One man chose to give his slot to a complete stranger. Edward Odquina says he gave his ticket to Stacie Sato-Sugimoto because she has two children and he has only one child. He says she deserved the housing more.

“I’m in a place where I’m actually climbing up,” he said. “If I took this over somebody with two or three kids, I’d feel really bad.”

Sato-Sugimoto said she was shocked by the gift.

“I’ve never had anyone do something so nice and just generous for me, ever,” Sato-Sugimoto said. “I’m recently a single mom and I work at an elementary school and I want to do the best for my kids and stay by my parents. It’s amazing opportunity.”

The units were made through an agreement between the City and County of Honolulu and Hale Ka Lae LLC. The agreement provides 20 percent of the rental rates for families with a gross household income of less than 80 percent of the area median income. For a family of four, that means a gross annual household income of $76,650.

Avalon Development CEO Christine Camp says she’s from the area, and knows the value of affordable housing.

“I grew up in the east Honolulu area and I knew that my friends grew up here and cannot afford to live here, so when I designed this project, I designed it for my friends and family,” she said.

The development is scheduled to open in mid-2016.

“In the coming weeks, we’re going to be announcing a major regulatory change in terms of how we build affordable housing,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “This is a little bit ahead of it and I think it’s great. We need more of this, in perpetuity, so as our inventory grows, young families and seniors can live better and a lot more affordable.”


Information from: KHON-TV, https://khon.com

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