HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - An old air-soft and paintball gun park used to be where Kahauiki Village sits just off Nimitz Highway.
But over the years, it became overrun with illegal homeless campers. That was until a vision was born for the land: A functioning plantation-style community to house families who have lived on the streets.
Kahauiki opened in January 2018 and just reached its 2-year anniversary. The Institute for Human Services hosted a Wellness Day for Kahauiki Village residents with various booths and services.
“It’s a huge blessing because we get to call this place home and be able to live and thrive, and be a part of a loving community," resident Francine Alvarez-Lopez said.
The site initially welcomed two families but is now home to 79.
“We really look at this as an opportunity to expand our mission with families. From homeless families that come to our shelters, and trying to get them working, and then finally getting permanent housing, this has been just a tremendous opportunity for those folks,” Connie Mitchell, IHS executive director, said.
In the next few months, it’s anticipated that the village will open its third and final housing phase and will welcome its 100th family before this summer.
“It’s such a blessing that so many people in the organizations and throughout the community care about this village and want to help us and our children thrive,” resident Kaimbrea Vance added.