Final touches being put on community-funded tiny homes for evacuees

Final touches being put on community-funded tiny homes for evacuees

PAHOA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - A newly-constructed community for lava evacuees is just about ready to open.

The 20 tiny homes will help families and kupuna displaced by the eruption.

Final touches are being added to the village of micro-homes, which will house lava victims behind Sacred Heart Church in Pahoa.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of items have been donated by businesses all over the state to help construct the first of its kind temporary shelters.

The drywall is done, vinyl flooring in, and the shelves are up.  The only things left to do to make the 10-by-12-foot units more comfortable — decorations.

"Being an interior designer, we decided, we did not want this to look like an evacuation center," said Nanawale Estates resident Anthony Long.

When Hawaii News Now caught up with Long, he was picking up hanging baskets and plants from Rozett's Nursery in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Kaliko High, who works at the nursery, says they didn't think twice about donating when Hope Services, which is managing the project, came calling.

"Hope Services reached out to us to see if there was anything we could contribute just to make the people living there feel more like it's a home," High said.

John Rozett, who owns the nursery, says plants can brighten anyone's mood.

"It makes them feel like they can come home to something and have something living there... gives them a distraction to take their mind off some of the other things," he said.

After leaving Rozett's Nursery, Anthony Long headed to Walmart in Hilo, where manager Mark Roberts was waiting.

Walmart donated pillows, curtains, bedding and furniture.

"We're happy to do it," says Roberts.

The village is an amazing example of a community helping its own. Big Island Electrical Service, Pacific Rim Construction, KTA, and IBEW 1186, all contributed — along with a hefty donation from Hawaii Island United Way.

The micro-units each have painted drywall, vinyl floors and electricity.

All that's left to do: Long needs to decorate each one and the village bathrooms and kitchen need to be completed.

Then, 20 familes or kupuna over the age of 60 can move in. That could happen as soon as June 30.

It is a temporary place to stay but after the evacuees move out, Sacred Heart Church wants to use the village to house the homeless.

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