Two key members of the Honolulu City Council want the city to re-create a housing department.
During Wednesday's hearing at Windward Community College, council chair Ernie Martin and budget chair Ann Kobayashi said government involvement could be the only way to keep rentals affordable.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell was hoping to sell the city's 12 affordable housing projects, but says he's open to any new ideas.
"If there's a way to create some kind of team within the city that will help us make sure that when we build more housing for the chronic homeless, and perhaps better manage the 12 units that were going to be sold, or some version of those 12, I'm open to everything; to talk about it," said Caldwell.
In 1998 the city dismantled the housing department after voters approved a charter amendment.
It costs about $7 million per year for the city to operate and maintain its 12 affordable housing projects.