DHHL awards 20 green homes in Kapolei - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

DHHL awards 20 green homes in Kapolei

Leonard Kama, who has been on the Hawaiian Home Lands wait list since 1975, is greeted by Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair Alapaki Nahale-a after he was called to select a homestead lot. Gov. Neil Abercrombie looks on. Leonard Kama, who has been on the Hawaiian Home Lands wait list since 1975, is greeted by Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair Alapaki Nahale-a after he was called to select a homestead lot. Gov. Neil Abercrombie looks on.
Homestead recipient Shirley Bushe stands with Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair Alapaki Nahale-a after she receives the final award of the day. Homestead recipient Shirley Bushe stands with Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair Alapaki Nahale-a after she receives the final award of the day.

KAPOLEI, (HawaiiNewsNow) —The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, to fulfill its purpose of returning Native Hawaiians to the land, awarded  20 energy-efficient "green" homes in the 403-unit Kānehili subdivision in Kapolei Saturday.

The event, attended by about 80 people, was held at Kapolei Middle School. Gov. Neil Abercrombie  attended the event to congratulate the new awardees.

"This is not just about home-building, today's ceremony is about bringing the Hawaiian community together and moving forward in doing what is right," said Gov. Abercrombie. "There is much work to be done at DHHL, and I support Director Nahale-a and his team in finding creative solutions to increase the pace of homeownership for Native Hawaiians."

Hawaiian Homes Commission chairman Albert "Alapaki" Nahale-a said, "Today's move is another step closer toward fulfilling Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole's dream, another step toward carrying on his legacy. What we are passing on to our families today is more than just an ‘award,' it is the embodiment of the kuleana that rests with each of us – department and beneficiary -- to move our Trust forward."

The developer of the project is Gentry Kapolei Development, LLC and five house plans are offered with energy efficiency as a central theme.   

Each home will have provisions to accommodate the future use of electric cars as well as energy-saving measures that will help new homeowners save anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of their energy bill.

The homes all include a solar water system, energy efficient air conditioning, hybrid insulation, "low flow" plumbing fixtures, dual pane Low E vinyl windows, and a fluorescent lighting package.

The Kānehili subdivision in Kapolei signifies a new era of building affordable homes.

This project is also the first to complete homes under the Undivided Interest Awards program. This program provides a lease interest in a larger piece of property until it is subdivided into individual lots.

The program is designed to award a lease during engineering and site construction, thus providing at least two years for the beneficiary to financially qualify for a mortgage loan. Qualifying for a mortgage has been a major roadblock because in the past an applicant needed to financially qualify for a mortgage before they could accept a homestead lease.

Working with the DHHL's Home Ownership Assistance Program, lessees can improve their credit, create savings, pay down debt or improve their earning capacity in working to qualify for a mortgage.

More than 3,000 beneficiaries statewide have taken advantage of the HOAP program, and in less than a year, some have qualified for a mortgage and have been able to select a home.

"The department has done a great job at producing affordable models here in the Kānehili subdivision, but we are still serving only a certain percentage of our wait list," Nahale-a said. "This is the beginning of moving the trust forward to better serve our beneficiaries and to focus on building the department's short- and long-term capacity to deliver a variety of homesteading opportunities."

East Kapolei I is a 92-acre parcel with minimum lot size of 5,000 square feet. On-site improvements, including construction of roadways, drainage, sewer, water and electrical systems cost $31.7 million. Off-site improvements including the Kapolei Parkway extension, a 4.0 million gallon water reservoir, water transmission, water mains and sewer trunk lines have cost another $26.3 million for the development.

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