HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than two dozen homeless people could be off the streets and living in modified shipping containers on Sand Island by early November, according to city officials who say their pilot project for transitional emergency housing is running on-schedule.
"We are now paving. We finished grading and we're going to put six inches of recycled asphalt, which we will compact and then the containers can come in," described Ed Manglallan, the Deputy Director of Facility Maintenance for the City and County of Honolulu.
Last Friday, city officials awarded a $523,517 contract to Container Storage of Hawai'i for the Hale Mauliola site, which will consist of 25 renovated shipping containers that can accommodate up to 85 people. The first nine shipping containers are scheduled for delivery by October 30 and officials say they will move to get the first round of homeless clients situated as quickly as possible.
"One of the key issues that we wanted to address at this site is the heat and the ability to keep the containers and living areas as cool as possible. Container Storage will be putting heavily insulated material inside the containers and there will be a roof coating to reflect the sun. We will have windows on the back side and doors on the front side with screens to encourage cross-breeze, and also a major shade structure on top of the roofs to ensure additional shade for the project," explained Sandy Pfund , Director of the Office of Strategic Development for the City and County of Honolulu.
The 8 by 20 feet shipping containers will either be modified to accommodate three single individuals in three separate units or split into two units to accommodate two couples. There are no plans to house families at this time.
Officials say there will be one bathroom facility on-site with four separate showers, sinks and toilets. Every unit will have it's own lock and there will be 24-hour private security, as well.
Many details haven't been worked out -- including what Hale Mauliola's rules will be or how much it will cost homeless people to stay there.
"We look at the bigger picture and really work with their budgets before just charging a fee. We want to make sure that is in fact going to be productive and that there is an outcome so that they're learning to be financially responsible budgeting their money, but at the same time getting used to paying some form of rent," said Kimo Carvalho, the Director of Community Relations for the Institute of Human Services, which was awarded an $850,000 contract to run the facility for one year. Officials say they expect to serve 250 homeless people in that time. The shelter is intended to be a place for people to transition out of homelessness. Officials estimate most folks would live there for about 60 days, until a case worker can place them into housing.
In addition to managing the facility, IHS will provide a shuttle from the site to a bus depot on the main road -- along with service to their headquarters on Iwilei.
The transitional shelter sits on a five acre plot but the city is only using one acre of it for the pilot project. Officials say if it's successful, they will expand and also look at other locations on O'ahu.
Hale Mauliola is not expected to be a permanent location. The city only holds the lease for the Sand Island property for the next three years, which the state has provided rent-free.