Hawaiian families land affordable dream homes after decades-long wait

Gemini Calpito
Gemini Calpito
Lau family
Lau family
DHHL Chair Micah Kane
DHHL Chair Micah Kane

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

KAPOLEI (KHNL) - The wait will soon be over for more than 100 Native Hawaiian families, who've been waiting up to 40 years for a home.

The bonus - the subdivision they'll be living in is the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) very first green housing project.

On Tuesday, DHHL held a blessing at the project site.

It's a blessing a group of Native Hawaiian families have been dreaming about for decades, with the untying of a maile lei marking a new beginning, a new life, in a brand new home.

The Lau family will be among the first to live in the DHHL Kanehili subdivision planned in East Kapolei.

Within six months, 111 of the 403 affordable homes will be done - a surreal reality for families like the Calpito's, who've been on the waiting list since 1971.

"A lot of people have died waiting for Hawaiian homes so I'm truly blessed and happy," said Gemini Calpito.

The subdivision features two, three, four, and five bedroom homes, ranging from $220,000 to $295,000. And they're DHHL'S very first green homes, with clean energy features like a solar hot water system, fluorescent lights, and even an electric-car plug in.

"So that our families two years from now, three years from now, five years from now, 10 years from now, when electric cars are a norm, they have the ability to do it," said DHHL Chair Micah Kane.

"To our lessees who are here today, you give us so much joy, so much pleasure that we're able to meet our obligations to you in this fashion," said Governor Linda Lingle.

DHHL says it's a new era in affordable living, and gives new hope for families who otherwise may have lived differently.

"I'd probably be still living with my mom," said Kamalani Lau, one of the new homeowners.

"And now?"

"House party at my house!" Lau said.

DHHL says the green features will save homeowners 30% to 50% on their energy bill.