State breaks ground on affordable senior rental housing

By: Denise Yuki

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- City and State officials took part in a ceremonial groundbreaking and blessing Friday morning for the construction of a new senior residence center.

Located at 888 Iwilei Road, the Senior Residence Center at Iwilei is designed to provide affordable housing for seniors whose income levels are at or below 50 and 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). Current 60 percent AMI limits are $43,260 for one person and $49,440 for a two-person family.

The 15-story high rise tower will contain 160 rental units, with 145 one-bedroom and 14 two-bedroom units that will range from $650 to $950 a month.  There will also be an adult day center on the ground floor and office space for private, nonprofit entities.

"We expect to have more applicants than there are units, and therefore, if that occurs, we will have to rely on a lottery to select who gets to occupy the units here," said Marvin Awaya, Executive Director of Pacific Housing Assistance Corporation. "We will be doing advertising for occupancy a few months before the completion of the project."

Other features include an in-house referral service, available to tenants who are interested in accessing services such as in-home support, transportation, financial aid, health care, and legal assistance. The services allow senior residents to remain in their homes as they age, delaying the need for long-term facilities.

"The emphasis from the senior community [for affordable senior residential housing] was always there. We did some surveys early on in this project and one of the things we found was that there was a great need for an adult day center on this property, in addition to the housing itself," said Awaya.

The center is scheduled to open its doors in 2014.

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