Umi Street families to be displaced for months during cleanup, asbestos testing

Local News

**KHON2’s Laulima Giving Program is collecting donations for the victims on Umi Street. Click here for more information.**

Umi Street flood victims are looking at two more months before they can move back into their homes.

The property manager tells us walls and some of the flooring will have to taken out. Before that’s done, each unit will have to be tested for asbestos.

So now the families are challenged with finding a place to stay for that long.

We wanted to know what’s being done to speed up the process.

In this case, the councilman for the district, Joey Manahan, is trying to help, and he’s asked the Institute for Human Services to find housing for the flood victims.

After days of hosing down their homes to get the mud out, and picking through their belongings to see what they can save, residents of Hale Umi Condominiums face another challenge. Where can they stay for the next two months?

At least four families need help.

“We just gotta make do with what we have until we find more room or another place,” said flood victim Aaron Meyer.

Some families are lucky enough that their homes are still livable, but even they will have to move out so that their units can be completely cleaned out.

Manahan says IHS, the agency that works with the homeless, is talking to the families to help them find low-cost housing.

“Through our service providers, they’re able to work with other landlords in the city to be able to place folks into an apartment into a studio depending on the need,” he said.

Meyer is among those in need, but affordability is the key. He’s already paying mortgage and maintenance fees for the home that he can’t live in.

“We gotta find out all the details, so if it’s affordable for us, if we could afford it, just go from there and see what happens,” Meyer said.

We asked an expert who deals with flood victims if the process of cleaning out the homes can be done any faster.

“Two months does not sound out of the ballpark if you’ve got pretty extensive damage in nine units like that,” said mediator Chuck Crumpton.

He says the important thing is to get the right experts in there to make sure that mold, fungus, asbestos, and anything that can cause health problems is handled properly.

“Getting the right experts in there early on can really speed things up and not doing that can really slow things down a lot,” Crumpton said.

The property manager says testing for asbestos will start on Monday, so temporary housing will be needed by then.

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