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Mayor, Lt. Gov. Tour Old UH-Maui College Dorm Site

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino toured the old University of Hawaiʻi Maui College dormitory site on Tuesday afternoon with Lt. Gov. Josh Green and Maui County Council Member Tasha Kama, chairwoman of the council’s Affordable Housing Committee.

State Rep. Lynn DeCoite (East Maui, Pāʻia, Haʻikū, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi) listens as Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino discusses a project to convert former University of Hawaiʻi Maui College dormitories to emergency housing for homeless people with Lt. Gov. Josh Green and Maui County Council Member Tasha Kama on Tuesday in a unit at the former dormitory site in Kahului. Photo credit: County of Maui / Ryan Piros.

“Despite the deteriorated condition of these former student housing units, I’m confident that these can be renovated into emergency housing,” Mayor Victorino said. “I want to get our most needy families off the street and into a safe place with a roof over their heads.”

“These units will be for working families, now living in cars, who are really contributing to our society,” Mayor Victorino said. “However, they just can’t afford monthly rents. They don’t have family to live with. So, this is our effort to take those people off the street and give them something decent to raise their families.”

Tuesday’s site visit was organized at the request of Lt. Gov. Green. Maui County is poised to receive $5 million in Dwelling Unit Revolving Funds with the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corp. for the rebuilding or renovation of the buildings. The first phase will have at least 12 units for families.

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino discusses a project to convert former University of Hawaiʻi Maui College dormitories to emergency housing for homeless people with Lt. Gov. Josh Green and Maui County Council Member Tasha Kama on Tuesday at the former dormitory site in Kahului. Photo credit: County of Maui / Ryan Piros

Earlier this month, the County Council’s Affordable Housing Committee recommended full council approval of a measure to authorize the mayor to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the HHFDC for the project. Mayor Victorino and UH-MC have agreed to terminate the county’s current lease with the university for the dorm property to transition to housing for Maui’s most vulnerable families. The dorms have been vacant since 2008.

A memorandum of understanding between the Mayor and HHFDC outlines the roles and responsibilities of the county and agency for the funding and construction of the project and its management and oversight when complete. The agreement gives Maui County access to $5 million in state funding for the renovation or replacement of the existing 12 units in the community building and funding for pre-development environmental studies for possible additional rental units on the site near the intersection of Kaʻahumanu and Wahinepio avenues in Kahului.