Dozens of families received good news Wednesday when they were selected to rent affordable units in a new Hawaii Kai development.
More than 200 applications were received for the 54 affordable units at 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive.
Twenty-six two-bedroom, two-bath units are available for $1,495 per month and 28 three bedroom, two-bath units are available for $2,336 per month.
One-by-one, names were called and tears were shed.
But the most touching moment occurred when one of the lucky recipients, Edward Odquina, chose to give his slot to a complete stranger. He had met Stacie Sato-Sugimoto just five minutes prior.
“I have one child, she has two. I think she deserves it more,” he said. “I’m in a place where I’m actually climbing up. If I took this over somebody with two or three kids, I’d feel really bad.”
“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.”
Christine Camp, president and CEO of Avalon Development, said this was a project that hit close to home.
“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 units were made possible through a regulatory agreement between the City and County of Honolulu and Hale Ka Lae LLC that provides 20 percent of the units at rental rates for families with gross household income not exceeding 80 percent of the area median income.
For a family of four, this equates to gross annual household income of $76,650.
“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.”
Construction has already begun and the development is slated to open in mid-2016.