The homeless village near Nimitz is almost open, and families are ready to move in

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Caught up in the emotion of the moment, it was nearly impossible for Nohealani Ching to take it all in.

"It's just amazing. Everything. Just walking into a place I'm going to call my own home again, it's just something I can't explain," she said. "I can't wait to see my kids' reaction."

The past year has tested the 29-year-old single mother in ways she couldn't imagine. Despite working full-time as a caregiver, she and her three children were evicted from their Mililani apartment last January when she couldn't make rent.

From there, they bounced between the street and friend's couches before taking refuge at local churches through the group Family Promise.

Now, Ching and her children will be one of the first 30 families to move into Kahauiki Village, the affordable plantation-style development that's been built on an old paintball field across from the Nimitz Viaduct.

It was paid for through a public-private partnership. Each house will belong to someone who was previously homeless and is just getting back on their feet.

Move in day for the first phase of the project is January 12.

"I love it. I just love everything. It has a bed inside. I don't have beds," said Ching. "It has a ceiling fan. I've never had a ceiling fan before."

Family Promise housing specialist Ashleigh Loa has been working with Ching since September.

"They've put in a lot of work to be able to come here. We have taught them financial literacy, so when we're out and they're on their own, they'll be fine without our help," said Loa.

Rent for a two bedroom unit, including utilities, is $900 per month – about half what Ching paid at her old apartment.

"This is what I need. Especially being a single mom and struggling. It's hard," said Ching.

With packing already complete Ching plans to spend the next few weeks just focusing on work and preparing her children for the next chapter of their lives.

"I'm just so grateful and beyond blessed. My kids are grateful, too. I know they'll be so happy," said Ching.

When the village is complete, there will be a total of 150 homes – along with a daycare, a preschool center and a convenience store – all on site.

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