City buys $5.5M building in Makiki for supportive housing

City buys $5.5M building in Makiki for supportive housing

MAKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city plans to turn a former school in Makiki into a supportive housing apartment for the homeless, the mayor announced Monday.

The building, recently purchased by the city for $5.5 million, sits at the corner of Hassinger and Piikoi streets and could eventually house 50 tenants.

"We don't want to create public housing, where someone moves in and stays for 10 years, or stays for the rest of their productive life" said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who outlined his vision for the property at a news conference Monday.

"It's housing for the homeless, or people who are going to become homeless, so they can get supported, get better and get out."

The building, the former site of Loveland Academy, will be renovated to feature studio, 1- and 2-bedroom units.

Tenants will pay rents that are lower than market but higher than the typical costs of transitional housing.

Sandra Pfund, executive Director for the city Office of Strategic Development, said tenants in the building would work with a variety of providers to "get back on their feet."

The goal is to have an individual or family on site no longer than six years.

Preliminary presentations to the Makiki Neighborhood Board were generally positive. "It looked like a good idea, however, none of the neighbors were there to have any input. The board says, sounds good," Makiki Neighborhood Board Chair John Steelquist said.

The board will take the matter again at its January meeting. Caldwell hopes to have the first tenants in by the end of next summer.

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