Lahaina was expensive before the fire. Some worry rebuilding will price them out

After a devastating fire in Lahaina, Hawaii, residents fear that rebuilding will lead to further increases in an already expensive housing market, potentially pushing out lower income locals.

Background: On August 8, severe fires swept through Lahaina’s town center, causing extensive damage to homes including those owned by longtime resident Jeremy DelosReyes.
* DelosReyes has rejected offers by realtors to purchase his charred property, expressing fear of “land grabbers” amid a severe housing shortage.
* He cites concerns that a push to rebuild will prioritize developers catering to tourists and part-time residents over the needs of longtime inhabitants.

Context: Even before the fire, Hawaii was facing the most expensive housing market in the country, greatly impacting Native Hawaiians.
* Lahaina land is valuable due to a continual increase in housing costs; Governor Josh Green declared a state of emergency on housing last month.
* Native Hawaiians constitute a disproportionate share of Hawaii’s homeless population and at least half of Native Hawaiians now live outside the state due to high living costs.

Reality check: Experts say that new construction post-disaster often prices out locals due to increased costs.
* Shannon Van Zandt, a disaster recovery specialist, warns that historical locations like Lahaina are particularly appealing to developers.

Proposed solutions: Native Hawaiian activists and government representatives are calling for affordable rebuilding solutions.
* Governor Green has vowed to protect Lahaina for its residents and has mentioned the possibility of the state buying land for affordable housing.
* Local housing developer Paul Cheng has proposed making a new development completely affordable, given the recent disaster.

However, locals continue to feel uncertain about the future, with some contemplating relocation due to the enormity of the rebuild and the unknown final costs.
* Locals Amanda Vierra and DelosReyes express worry about whether they can afford to stay in Lahaina during the rebuild. DelosReyes, despite temptation to leave, shared that he can’t imagine leaving a place where his ties run so deep.

View original article on NPR

This summary was created by an AI system. The use of this summary is subject to our Terms of Service.

Contact us about this post






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *