A new village-style homeless project could begin to rise by Thanksgiving on Oahu

Updated: Nov. 2, 2019 at 11:19 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new village-style homeless project could start to rise in Kalaeloa before the end of the month.

It’s called a Kauhale and it will be a permanent community featuring tiny homes, common areas and shared facilities.

Right now, the parcel off Shangrila Street doesn’t look like much. It’s got one rickety building in the middle of an overgrown lot.

But over the next few months, the parcel is slated to transform into a master-planned community for the homeless.

"For Phase 1 we are envisioning between 35 to 39 tiny homes,” said Nani Medeiros, who heads up Home Aid Hawaii.. “We’re still adjusting the plans, so right now everything’s very much conceptual.”

The non-profit uses its connections within the building industry to construct housing for the homeless at a deep discount.

This marks the first time the agency’s teamed up with government.

On Friday morning, crews were on site taking samples while Medeiros offered a tour of the parcel.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green has been working with the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to secure the land.

He told HNN he met with public housing officials Thursday and hopes to have final approval on the project in the next 10 days.

“We want to be building tiny houses by Thanksgiving,” said Green. “The infrastructure is basically in place here. We’ve got power here. We’ve got water here.”

With much of the work being done at no cost to taxpayers, Green estimates government will have to pitch in around $1.5 million for this project.

“This Kauhale will be the first of five. That’s our hope,” said Green. “Each one is in a different stage. One in Waimanalo, one in Waianae, one downtown, and one at the Hawaii State Hospital.”

City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine came down to visit the site, and said she welcomes the village in her district.

“This is the perfect place to test the Kauhale model,” she said.

“Because you have U.S. Vets right next door that can service the veterans that will be staying here. You also have a family shelter the next block over.”

Once the village opens, residents will pay rent of between $225 and $400 a month.

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