There are more than 550 bills relating to affordable housing this legislative session. But, there’s one community model that could be duplicated statewide. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.
Kahau’iki Village near Ke’ehi Lagoon and Sand Island is a joint government and private sector project to build affordable rental housing for homeless families on O’ahu.
“I got a place that I call it a home instead of, oh, I live in the homeless in the transitional home.”
Fabian Meitten qualified to move in last month with his wife and two daughters, ages 13 and 6. They’re one of 30 families living in the first completed section of Kahau’iki Village. The families pay rent…725 dollars for a one bedroom; 900 for a two bedroom.
“I’m a prep cook. It’s a good job. Pay $13 an hour, I don’t complain. My wife works in Kailua, good benefit, too. Me, I made about $700 a month; my wife made about 4-5. This is affordable for us.”
Most of the building materials, labor, appliances and furnishings were donated by private companies. The state leased the land for a dollar a year and the city provided utility hook-ups at no cost. The Institute for Human Services, I-H-S, manages the Village and processes applications. Kimo Carvalho is the I-H-S spokesperson.
“There’s no time limit on how long they can actually stay here at Kahau’iki but we do know that with supportive case management here, on site, at the facility, we can really work with them on budgeting classes, child care, child enrichment programs, really get the family to consider other goals and options so that they no longer have to live in the cycle of poverty.”
When completed, Kahau’iki Village will have more than 150 homes with up to 600 adults and children. Carvalho says the goal is to build a community.
“The elementary school nearby, transportation services like the bus, the rail is gonna be passing through here, we also wanna make sure its relatively close to convenience stores and other amenities.”
For Meitten and family, originally from Chuuk, Kahauiki will be home for the near future.
“Gonna try our best to live here, so, hopefully we meet all of our neighbors and be good friends, get together one day. So I’m glad. As my oldest daughter says, new year, new life, new beginning.”
In my next report, a key lawmaker supports Kahau’iki Village as a model for the homeless. Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.