BY JIM DOOLEY – A private Mainland-based company is conducting the “compliance audit” of a Maui public housing project plagued by chronic vacancies and overdue repair work.
Karen Seddon, executive director of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp., said the audit is being performed by Spectrum Enterprises, which is already under contract to the agency to provide housing analysis services.
The company is headquartered in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Seddon declined to comment on a statement Wednesday by Maui legislator Angus McKelvey that HHFDC wants rents lowered and vacant units filled within 30 days at Honokokowai Kauhale, where some 71 units have been vacant for months and years.
McKelvey, D-10th (Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua, Maalaea, Kihei), said he and state Sen. Roz Baker, D-5th (West Maui) “are pushing for a speedy resolution” of problems at the 184-unit affordable housing project.
“We want the (management) contract to be declared null and void but the investigation has to be completed first,” he said.
Seddon said her agency, which owns nine affordable housing facilities around the state, has met with Realty Laua, the company which holds a $1.75 million, three-year contract to manage Honokowai Kauhale.
Realty Laua has not returned telephoned requests for comment from Hawaii Reporter.
HHFDC spokesman Kent Miyasaki said representatives from Spectrum Enterprises did “meet with Realty Laua to discuss lowering rents” at the project.
According to rental application forms, new tenants are now charged $1,000 to $1,500 per month, depending on the size of the unit.