HONOLULU (KHON2) — West Maui residents and groups are “Fishing for housing” at Kaanapali Beach.
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Displaced Lahaina residents said they’re fishing for answers and long term housing too.
Earlier this week Gov. Josh Green said there were still roughly 6,700 residents staying in hotel rooms — most of them in Kaanapali — one of the biggest tourist destinations on the island.
“It’s a good place to open everyone’s eyes and educate the tourists, educate ourselves and the county and offices and say we are here — sometimes they cannot see us but when we’re at one of the worlds most popular beaches they have to pay attention,” said Naiwi Teruia who is currently staying in Honokowai after losing his home on Baker Street.
Despite his loss he said he’s lucky to have an apartment for now, and added he knows many others moving room to room daily.
“You have us here and tourists here and families getting kicked out to make room for tourists and its’ not right and we don’t need this mental recovery still at the beginning,” Teruia continued.
Junya Nakoas daughter lost her home in the fire and said she’s living in a home with 17 others who are displaced.
“We want to make sure they hear us – Lahaina first us, and tourists after,” Junya said.
He added they want the red tape to come down when it comes to permitting and allow for temporary long-term housing to go up on land in West Maui where people want to stay.
“Use a proclamation to hammer away the red tape so we can build long term housing and get the heck out of our way,” continued Junya.
He said hes’ been offering families rides between hotels since the fires, and in the last week moved 45 people to a new hotel and one family twice in less than 7 days.
Mayor Bissen did meet with many Lahaina residents on Friday in Kaanapali to hear their needs and concerns – that included housing.
He left before KHON2 arrived, but we reached out to his office to see if a moratorium on short-term rentals is still on the table so they can be turned into long-term housing.
For more information on housing available for displaced residents, click here.