June 30, 2010 – Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Video by David Corrigan, voice of Tim Bryan
Amidst the rocky a’a fields of Kaloko, community leaders and kupuna gathered to celebrate the ground breaking of the needed Kaloko Housing Project.
The Luna Ha’i Olelo, or MC of the event, was Jeremy McComber, the Development Division Chief with the County Office of Housing and Community Development. The director of that office, Steve Arnett, was also on hand and provides insight in a video interview.
The councilperson of the district, Kelly Greenwell, was choked with emotion over the meaningful project, which will provide a home to the homeless and low income families of Kona. Kupuna Aunty Elizabeth Maluihi Lee was also present, and offered her recollections of the once barren lava field of Kaloko that will now serve her community with housing. After opening remarks, and a pule ho’opaipai by Kahu Kaniela Akaka, officials turned the earth with the symbolic o’o.
The county of Hawaii issued this media release detailing the project:
Mayor Billy Kenoi and the County of Hawai‘i Office of Housing and Community Development celebrated the groundbreaking today of the Kaloko Housing Project, a 96-unit complex that will replace the Ka Hale O Kawaihae Transitional Housing Program.
The initial phases of the Kaloko complex will include 12 transitional housing apartments and 28 apartments for low-income residents.
The Kaloko Housing Project will serve low-income families with children. The transitional units will serve only homeless families, while the rentals will serve low-income families with a preference for families that are homeless or at risk for homelessness.
Families living at the complex will be provided an array of services such as assistance with budgeting, parenting classes, job training, child care assistance and other counseling.
“This project represents a collaboration by many of our partners in the community, and is an important addition to the social service safety net in Kona,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “It demonstrates a commitment on the part of the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the state’s Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation and the County of Hawai‘i to improve the quality of transitional housing and expand the supply of affordable rentals in West Hawai‘i.”
Each apartment will have two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, and a bathroom. The 3,600-square-foot community center will include two bathrooms, laundry facilities, a common kitchen and meeting area, administrative offices for the facility operator, and a dividable multi‑purpose room for classes and meetings.
The initial phases of the project will also include a wastewater treatment plant. A 15,000-square-foot warehouse and additional housing units are planned for future phases.
The Kaloko project is being funded with a U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Neighborhood Stabilization Fund Grant of $4,877,800 that was awarded through the state’s Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation; and County Capital Improvement funding totaling $7,500,000.
Isemoto Contracting Co., Ltd. is scheduled to begin site work in July, and begin construction of the housing units and community center in November. A request for proposals will be published the first week of July to accept construction bids for the waste water treatment plant, with construction scheduled to begin in November.
This is the second project to break ground in Kona in the past year that will assist in housing the homeless. The Office of Housing and Community Development broke ground in June 2009 on its first emergency shelter for the homeless in West Hawai‘i. The 31-bed project in the Kailua-Kona old industrial area is scheduled for completion in October 2010.