WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With the turn of a key, the days of living on a beach in Nanakuli are officially over for the Joshua family.
"I'm blessed. I don't know what to say or what to do right now," William Joshua said. "I could never imagine something like this would happen for me and my family. But it did."
Joshua, his wife and their four children are among the first families to move into Kauhale Kamaile, the city's modular affordable housing village that's built on a 1.1-acre lot across from Waianae High School.
The project was more than two years in the making, and will eventually become home to 16 families who were once homeless on the Leeward Coast.
The total cost of the project was about $5 million.
Initially, the idea of the village was met with a lot of resistance. There were concerns that homeless people from town would be placed there.
On Monday, though, the city kept its commitment to the community — as four families who were once homeless on the west side moved in.
Rent for a one-bedroom at the complex is $981, while a two-bedroom unit comes in at $1,177. A housing subsidy covers a portion of those costs.
While her siblings were busy deciding which room to claim, 11-year-old Brianna Joshua just smiled — already picturing what the holidays will be like.
"With Christmas, everyone is over here. Imagine it," she said.
In the meantime property managers gave her parents words of encouragement.
"You're my first family. I want you to help this community," said Sue Austin, Ohana Ola O Kahumana. "I want you to watch out for all of the other families. Watch out for yourself. Really make this into a village. Make it work."
As the family begins this new chapter, they say they won't forget what they've been through and offer a bit of hope to those trying to make ends meet.
"I just want to say to everybody else out there who's struggling, who's having a hard time," Bernice Joshua said, "You know don't give up. Keep praying. Keep the faith because look. It happens."