(BIVN) – Hawaii Island officials and community leaders marked Veterans Day by welcoming the start of a new affordable rental housing development in Hilo.
On Thursday, a $145,000 grant was presented to boost the Hale Nā Koa ‘O Hanakahi, the housing project for seniors with a preference to serve U.S. military veterans and spouses of deceased veterans. The funds from the Nareit Hawaii Community Giving Initiative, a charitable program supported by the Nareit Foundation, were given to EAH Housing, the nonprofit affordable housing developer.
“We are grateful to the Nareit Foundation for this generous grant, which will be used towards the development of Hale Nā Koa ʻO Hanakahi,” said Laura Hall, president and chief executive officer at EAH Housing. “This grant brings our organizations together as we strive to create strong partnerships to build more affordable rental housing and help improve people’s quality of life.”
From a news release:
Construction of Hale Nā Koa ‘O Hanakahi is expected to begin in mid-2022. The fully landscaped 5.5-acre project at 118 West Kawili Street in Hilo will offer 92 affordable housing apartments and a community center with a variety of lifestyle amenities for senior residents (age 62 and older) to enjoy, including a common area lounge, coffee bar, fitness room, dog park, garden areas, multi-purpose room for social and educational activities, and a sheltered lanai and outdoor area for larger events.
The driving force behind the project is the Hawai‘i Island Veterans Memorial, Inc. (HIVM), a 501(c)(3) organization administered by a volunteer board that is committed to providing housing and other essential services in Hilo for veterans and their families.
“Hale Nā Koa ʻO Hanakahi is the result of an effort started 15 years ago as rents and the price of housing was skyrocketing in Hawaii,” said Bob Williams, HIVM project manager and previous board chairman. “This new affordable housing community will give veterans and seniors an opportunity to age in place and live with dignity, which is something we all deserve, especially those that have served our country.”
Nareit Hawaii Executive Director Gladys Quinto Marrone noted the $145,000 grant supporting Hale Nā Koa ʻO Hanakahi is a direct result of donations made by REITs in Hawaii to the Nareit Foundation.
“We applaud the mission of EAH Housing to provide affordable housing solutions for seniors in need and are especially proud to say, ‘thank you’ to veterans and their families for the dedicated service and sacrifices they have made to protect our freedom,” said Marrone. “It’s inspiring to realize the effort and commitment it has taken to make the vision of Hale Nā Koa ʻO Hanakahi into a reality, and it will be exciting to watch this community grow into a vibrant place of joy and fulfillment for seniors in Hilo.”
Elected officials participating in today’s event were Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth, State Senator Lorraine Inouye representing Senate District 4 (Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona), State Senator Laura Acasio representing Senate District 1 (Hilo), State Representative Chris Todd representing House District 2 (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea), Hawaii County Council Member Susan L.K. Lee Loy representing Council District 3 (portion of South Hilo and portion of Kea‘au), and Hawaii County Council Member Heather L. Kimball representing District 1 (portion of South Hilo, North Hilo, Hamakua and portion of Waimea).
Also attending the event was former Mayor Harry Kim, General Manager Daniel Kea of Prince Kuhio Plaza (owned by Brookfield Properties Retail, a REIT that donates to the Nareit Foundation), and numerous veterans, community supporters and volunteers providing services to veterans.
The news release added that the Nareit Hawaii Community Giving Initiative is encouraging “other qualified organizations in Hawaii to submit applications to be considered for grants supporting affordable housing projects in 2022.”