Local Connection: Village for formerly homeless families

The new affordable housing village near Keehi lagoon will open its doors to formerly homeless working families in January.

Kahauiki Village is moving at the speed of light compared to most housing projects – the first forty units only took six months to rise from bare ground into a plantation-style community.

The village was the brainchild of local businessman Duane Kurisu. He not only came up with the concept, he created a sense of confidence and excitement around the project that attracted volunteers and donations from businesses, labor unions and non-profits.

Although the land was basically free from the state and the city, the biggest contribution of government was to get out of the way. Emergency declarations freed the project from burdensome and time consuming permits and other red tape. That enabled Kurisu and his team to do what business does best – creatively, collaboratively and quickly solve a problem.

As government officials and politicians argue and stumble over each other on issues of homelessness and housing, it becomes more and more clear government alone is incapable of solving this problem.

The state and county should find more land it can spare, and let the private sector get the job done.

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