After years of debate, construction has begun on igloo-shaped shelters for homeless

After years of debate, construction has begun on igloo-shaped shelters for homeless

KAHALUU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - While lawmakers continue to push for taxpayer-funded homeless 'ohana' zones, construction began Friday on what Pastor Klayton Ko calls a homeless 'faith zone.'

In 2016, the First Assembly of God Church on Red Hill made international headlines after it raised more than $200,000 to fund a project to build igloo-shaped shelters for the homeless.

After a two-year wait, the city finally issued building permits earlier this month. By Friday afternoon, construction on the first dome was complete.

In all, twelve units are being built off Kahekili Highway, behind the First Assembly of God Windward Church. The village will house single mothers and their children.

"We, as a faith community, can make a difference in the homeless crisis," said Ko. "Help them get their lives back on track. Help to get them into independent living."

Larry Bertrand, also known as the 'Dome Dude,' flew in from Oregon to oversee the build-out.

"I want to see it finished," said Bertrand. "We can have this done maybe inside two months. All interiors. Ready to rock."

As this long-awaited village begins to take shape, Pastor Ko says he's thankful to the many congregations that have helped make the project possible.

"We've had several churches who have actually sponsored a dome and have been waiting for today," said Ko.

He hopes the progress they've made will inspire others.

"I think every island has a need for this concept," said Ko. "If anyone has land available we would like to replicate a shelter village."

The first families are expected to start moving in this summer.

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