Pandemic speeds up construction start on master-planned village for the homeless

Pandemic speeds up construction start on master-planned village for the homeless

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Amid the coronavirus pandemic, a non-profit that specializes in creating housing for the homeless has started construction on a master-planned village in Kalaeloa.

“This is 100 square feet of interior living space,” said Hale Partners owner, Jake Johnson. “We have double wall construction, insulation.”

Soon, the tiny house will end someone’s homelessness.

Each one takes about 50 hours to build. And the best part is the first 21 units have been paid for entirely through donations.

It’s part of a new Kauhale village going up next door to US Vets homeless shelter in Kalaeloa. The permanent community will feature 36 tiny homes -- and that’s only part of it.

“There will be bathrooms, showers, laundry, a commercial kitchen, a community lounge and a health clinic,” said Nani Medeiros.

The executive director of HomeAid Hawaii joined forces with the state on the project last fall. Today, the non-profit announced construction on the bulk of the homes will begin next week.

“It couldn’t be more timely,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green. “It’s about to be the surge for COVID-19. We’re expecting it in three weeks.”

Medeiros said, “We definitely feel the pressure to help as soon as we can.”

All 21 of the donated homes will be built off-site and transported to the Kauhale.

As for the remainder of the units, in order for them to be constructed quickly the non-profit says it’s going to need the state’s help.

“We executed contracts under the emergency proclamation. But for some reason we still have to go through the RFP process,” said Medeiros. “The sooner the state can remove this red tape the sooner we can build the houses on there.”

The state’s pitching in $2 million for the project. Green says he’s going to ask FEMA to reimburse part of that since this project is now response to the COVID pandemic.

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