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The destruction from Hawaii's wildfires plunge Maui into deeper housing crisis

A woman digs through rubble of a home destroyed by a wildfire. (Rick Bowmer/AP)
A woman digs through rubble of a home destroyed by a wildfire. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

As Maui mourns the death of more than 100 people and the loss of decades of history to wildfires, residents are also dealing with a housing crisis.

The fires destroyed more than 2,000 structures. About 1,500 were residential, worsening a housing shortage that’s been years in the making.

Hawaii is one of the most expensive places in America to live. Prices for a starter home in many places started at around one million dollars. People in Lahaina struggled to buy property even before the deadly blaze.

And there’s growing concern that a land grab from developers could price even more residents out. We hear from Sterling Higa, executive director of Housing Hawai’is Future.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.