More than 80 residents were welcomed back into their apartments in Chinatown Wednesday.
A Hawaiian blessing and rededication ceremony were held at River Pauahi, an affordable apartment building on River Street.
Owner Ahe Group spent more than $3 million on upgrades, which included new paint, kitchens, energy-efficient appliances and fixtures, bathrooms, and flooring.
The common area improvements included new lighting, fire safety and ADA upgrades, a new roof and gutters, landscaping, signage, and security cameras.
Residents say they’re very happy with the changes.
“I love it. I love it compared to what it was. They changed everything,” said Linda Velles. “They changed everything in our bathroom. They changed our cabinets, the countertops, the flooring, the blinds. They put a ceiling fan and light, so I just love it.”
Built in 1979, River Pauahi has 41 one-bed, one-bath units and eight two-bedroom, one bath units.
All of the units are restricted to rents at 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).
Rental support is offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through a Section 8 contract. The Section 8 contract ensures tenants pay 30 percent of their available income as rent.
According to a company spokesperson, the average monthly rent is $348, with rents ranging from $45 to $1,413.
To ensure long-term affordability, the Ahe Group secured a 75-year ground lease with the City and County of Honolulu and 61-year use agreement with the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC).
“With the high cost of housing in Hawaii, limited supply of rental units and growing homeless population, it is critical that all available affordable units across the state are preserved and remain affordable for local residents,” said Makani Maeva, Ahe Group’s president and CEO.
All units are currently leased.