City announces proposal for homeless units in Waianae

City announces proposal for homeless units in Waianae
Proposed area for units in Waianae
Proposed area for units in Waianae

WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell calls it the next step in his plan to house Oahu's homeless people. He wants the city to buy a 1.1 acre plot of land that's sitting unused next to Maluhia Lutheran Church in Waianae. The project is tailored to help homeless families from the Leeward Coast.

"The goal is to house the guys on the West side on the West side, the guys in urban Honolulu in urban Honolulu, and the folks in Waikiki in Waikiki," Caldwell said in announcing the proposal.

The site sits directly across from Waianae High School on Farrington Highway.  The city plans to have 16 to 20 modular units on the lot by next summer that can house up to 90 people.

"We have 2,500 un-housed homeless folks on this island, probably more. Some people say it's under counted," Caldwell said.

The city's negotiating with the landowner to buy the parcel for $300,000. It will cost about $2 million to build the homes, an office and a common area.

Twinkle Borge's homeless camp at Waianae Boat Harbor has 25 families.

"I do have quite a bit of people that I've been trying to help to get into a home, especially the ones with kids. This is a perfect opportunity for them," she said.

Each unit will have two bedrooms, a bath and kitchen, and could fit a family of five.

"They're lockable.  They provide security and safeness to families who might live there," Office of Strategic Development administrator Sandra Pfund said.

The city will select a service provider to help get the families on their feet.

"We'd like to be able to have the individual be able to move on to bigger and better units in the community in the area," Office of Housing executive director Jun Yang said.

The city will decide if families who can afford it will pay rent to live on the property.

"We're going to need to have more projects like this one, and we're repeatedly going to have to address the concerns of neighbors wherever they go," Caldwell said.

The city will also build three modular units to house homeless families on a smaller parcel of land the city already owns in Waianae on Halona Road.

Presentations on the Farrington Highway site will be made to the Waianae and Nanakuli neighborhood boards.

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