by: Leland Kim
WAIANAE (KHNL) - A groundbreaking ceremony in Waianae gives hope to the homeless. A new project will provide housing to hundreds of families in that area.
Waianae residents said it's not only good news for the homeless, but for the entire community. They say this project provides a much needed boost, while giving them hope for the New Year.
A symphony of organizations brings new housing and hope to Waianae. And it's music to Kehau Hanohano's ears.
"I feel great that it's happening," said Hanohano. "The fruit of all the labor, the fruit of the prayers, have come to be."
Hanohano is one of many Waianae residents who attended today's ceremony. It's a collaborative effort among local church and community leaders, as well as government agencies.
"Because of the number of groups that are involved, that's the beauty of it," said Kaulana Park, a spokesperson for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. "Bringing in community organizations, to be a part of this."
Organizers credit Governor Linda Lingle (R-Hawaii) for her support. She said it's part of larger plan to help the people of Hawaii.
"We have a very aggressive package we're presenting to the legislature," said Lingle. "It includes $50 million infusion in the rental housing trust fund to partner with the private sector to get more affordable rentals."
The package is $128 million in total, for emergency shelter, transition, and permanent rentals. The Governor also hopes to raise the subsidy for rental housing.
"We proposed it last year, and didn't get it," said Lingle. "I think with the extra attention on housing, we may be able to get that."
Hanohano said today's news gives her hope that things will get better in 2007.
"I think it's going to mean happiness for children, health, safety," she said. "It's going to mean a new beginning for many people."
A new year, a new beginning for a hopeful community.