Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: Can Old UHMC Dorms Be Used for Homeless?

October 1, 2017, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated October 1, 8:19 AM
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Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his staff. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column. Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa at (808) 270-7855,  [email protected]  or mail them to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.

Aloha Mayor Arakawa,

Q: Why can’t the old, unused University of Hawai‘i Maui College student housing be used for transitional housing for the homeless (at the intersection of Ka‘ahumanu Avenue and Wahine Pio, across from Papa Avenue)?

The property has just been sitting, and empty for years. I’m sure some homeless persons would like a roof over their head.

A: The facility you’re referring to is on land owned by Maui County, with the old dormitory buildings built in 1981 by the college under a lease to UH.

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Our Maui County Department of Housing and Human Concerns is currently assessing the feasibility of turning the dorms into an affordable rental project. If plans for that type of housing move forward, the college will terminate its lease with the county. Should the county determine it is not feasible to convert the dorms into affordable rentals, the college will honor its lease and tear down the dorms.

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At one point, the college was considering the option of renovating the old dorms as a hospitality training center; however, during County Council budget hearings, the possibility of taking back the lease to build affordable rentals was discussed.

At that point, it became apparent to the college that it would not be practical to build a training facility on land it did not own, so the college has since identified an on-campus location for the hospitality training center.

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