Formerly homeless vets get a fresh start at West Oahu complex

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

KALAELOA (HawaiiNewsNow) - With a single key, David O'Leary can officially close the door on a dark chapter in his life.

After serving nine years in the Air Force, he ended up homeless early last year.

US Vets helped O'Leary get a job and get back on his feet.

And on Wednesday, all that hard work paid off when he walked through the door of his new place at Hale Uhiwai Nalu, a 50-unit affordable housing complex that exclusively houses formerly homeless and at-risk veterans.

"It's frickin' fantastic. I got two windows. My own bathroom," O'Leary said. "I need to buy some pots and pans. I want to do my own cooking."

Some 27 veterans are scheduled to move in by the end of the month.

O'Leary said the best part about this complex is being able to live in a community with people who understand him.

There are still units available in the complex. To submit an application, contact Cloudbreak Communities.

"United States military, we are a band of brothers," said O'Leary. "And I am privileged and honored to be a part of that. I wouldn't want to be anything else."

The project, the second phase of a  took a little more than a year to complete and cost $9 million.

About half the money came from the state's rental housing trust fund program. Loans and a grant covered the rest.

Rent is based on income. And there are crucial amenities available on-site available for every tenant.

"We have on-site support services, case management, we have peer specialist. We have community events," said Cloudbreak Communities community development Director Kyna-Haley Vea. "We really want to create quality of life for our veterans. Camaraderie. Something they've grown to love while serving."

Meanwhile, another expansion of the project is already in the works, with four additional complexes adding another 200 units.

"We're starting the process now and hopefully we can roll it out and every two years produce a new building," Vea said.

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