HONOLULU (KHON2) — Lahaina residents who lost their homes have been staying in hotels, but where will they go next?
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Some property owners have opened up rentals and those who were displaced hope longer-term solutions materialize.
Lahaina resident Randal Romo has stayed at the Hyatt Ka’anapali through the American Red Cross since his family home burned down. KHON2 asked him about when his hotel stay will end.
“That’s where a lot of us are getting mixed signals. Some are saying the end of September, others are saying the end of October,” Romo said, “but then you’ve got the governor and FEMA saying, ‘No, it’s the end of February.'”
A Red Cross spokesman said hotel rooms will be available for displaced residents through Feb. 10, 2024 for those who are registered with the Red Cross and FEMA. Those currently in hotels will need to work with a Red Cross representative by Friday, Sept. 29 to ensure they are eligible.
Nearby residents are trying to step up for others.
Panna Cappelli renovated her cottage in Kula and spent the last month painting, cleaning and furnishing.
“And I really would like to help somebody devastated by the fire as opposed to just renting it,” Cappelli said.
Cappelli is open to month-to-month tenants and said the cottage will be available indefinitely.
“I think people are so, so unsettled right now. I’m not asking anybody to commit anything,” Cappelli said. “This needs to evolve into permanent spaces.”
Romo agreed full-heartedly about permanent housing. KHON2 asked him about his message to officials who are in charge of making decisions to build long-term housing.
“First of all, I thank them for everything that they are trying to do, but they all need to get on the same page,” Romo said. “You need to find permanent housing for us before we all end up sleeping on the beach.”
Gov. Josh Green recently asked those who have a short-term rental or Airbnb to consider entering the rental pool — over 1,300 postings were made as of Tuesday, Sept. 26.