City: New modular complex could be model for future affordable housing projects

The modular units could be a model for the future.
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 5:43 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 8, 2022 at 6:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was move-in day for residents of the newest affordable housing complex in Ewa Beach.

The project is made of modular units and could be the model for the future.

Candeleira Santana and her 16-month old baby, Reign, are among the first residents. As stressful as moving day can be, they are finding relief.

Santana is originally from the Big Island. She moved to Oahu shortly before the pandemic hit.

“Then I got unemployed. I found out I was pregnant,” Santana said. “And living on Oahu is not affordable for many people. Usually, you have to have two to three roommates just to afford a place.”

She’s a single mom and has survived with help from friends.

But on Friday, she was relieved to give her baby a home.

“It’s nice that he has a place of his own,” Santana said. “He can sell his toys all over the ground. We’re not in anyone’s way.”

The apartment filled up fast — in less than three weeks. All 58 units were gone, and residents said that just shows there is a need for affordable housing like this.

“Quite honestly, we look forward to doing this again, and again, and again. There’s a need,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi.

The complex is made out of modular units built in Canada. Two years ago, the City Council urged leaders to consider this kind of construction to speed up the process.

“Now we’re actually blessing a project,” said Anton Krucky, the department of community services director. “And then we also have development projects that are already under construction. And then we’re also going to be developing and funding new projects.”

Applicants need to make less than half the area median income.

For one person, that translates to less than 44,000 a year. It costs $850 a month for each studio.

“Affordable housing is a struggle right now for sure,” said Michelle Look, a Locations property manager who will be in charge of West Loch Modulars.

“And there’s definitely not enough to provide for everyone that needs it on the island. And projects like this are so so critical.”

Santana thinks she’s lucky.

“It is hard to live,” Santana said. “Especially when you’re young and you just, you make all the right mistakes. This is a blessing. This place is amazing.”

She finally can afford a place to call her own.

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