Edit ModuleShow Tags

New Plantation-Style Village for Homeless Families One Step Closer to Reality

Kahauiki Village brings community together to provide affordable housing for Hawaiʻi


Published:

Kahauiki Village

Photos: Colby Lawton

 

Two 600-square-foot model homes stand testament to the coordinated efforts of a new public-private partnership committed to building a plantation-style village near Keʻehi Lagoon for homeless families.

 

“We put together a dream team,” says Gary Nakata, Honolulu’s city director of community services as he points to an array of Hawaiʻi’s powerhouse business leaders and public officials who have shown up to the Thursday-morning press conference. “This is the dream team that brought home the gold.”

 

SEE ALSO: Could This Plantation-Style Village Be a Solution to Hawai‘i’s Homeless Problem?

 

The gold Nakata refers to is the beginning of a working, self-supporting community of 200 families called Kahauiki Village.

 

The public-private project takes advantage of Gov. David Ige’s emergency proclamation last October addressing homelessness, “to provide not just temporary housing but affordable homes for families,” says Scott Morishige, the governor’s coordinator on homelessness. It’s hoped that by next year, Kahauiki Village will provide 200 families with homes for an estimated $500 a month rent. The units are not intended as transitional homes, but a new model of affordable permanent housing for the bottom 30 percent. The land is leased by the City and County of Honolulu at $1 a year for 10 years.

 

Duane Kurisu.

 

Kahauiki Village is the brainchild of local businessman Duane Kurisu, who grew up in the plantation town of Hakalau on Big Island*. Kurisu discusses the sharing economy of plantation life, in which “you get ten heads of lettuce and share five with your neighbors.”

 

The village designs are slated to incorporate a gardening area with fruit-bearing trees—including breadfruit and banana trees—in an effort to revive the kind of self-supporting community that defined plantation life. There’s even talk of finding a way to supply the village with a supply of live tilapia to fish.

 

“The government cannot relieve the homeless issue by itself,” says Mayor Kirk Caldwell during a tour of the two nearly-finished model homes. “We provided the land and utilities, and everyone else provided the rest.”

 

The homes will be built by private businesses Sueda & Associates, RMY Construction, Coastal Construction as well as Komatsu Japan, a company that provided thousands of displaced Japanese with homes after the 2011 Tōhoku tsunami. The original plans were all in Japanese and used the metric system, says Caldwell with a chuckle. The Hawaiʻi units will be made from materials recycled from the Japanese disaster-relief homes and remodeled to have a more plantation feel.

 

The eventual residents of Kahauiki Village will be selected by social service providers around the state targeting families with children. “We worked with all major social service providers in Hawaiʻi,” says Kurisu. “They are going to be the filters.”

 

Vicky Cayetano, former first lady of Hawaiʻi and the founder of nearby United Laundry Services, has made a commitment to employ as many adults living in the village as possible, according to the mayor’s office. “Location is critical,” says Kurisu, citing a source of employment as the center of plantation culture.

 

A move-in date has not been set yet, and is dependent on building infrastructure neccesary to provide utilities—including sewer, water and electricity—though the project is expected to be finished by some time next year.

 

*In addition to his real-estate holdings, Duane Kurisu owns Pacific Basin Communications, which includes HONOLULU Magazine.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Subscribe to Honolulu

Honolulu Magazine November 2018
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Trending

 

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday Cheat Sheet

Black Friday

Get the scoop on extended hours, day-of deals and deep discounts.

 

9 Greatest Honolulu Homes

Great Homes

Stunning, historic, extraordinary.

 

Can the Mainland Do Poke Right? Do We Want Them To?​

Poke

Martha Cheng, author of The Poke Cookbook and former line, talks about how a New York City publisher decided Hawai‘i’s favorite pūpū was for everybody.

 

50 Essential Hawai‘i Books You Should Read in Your Lifetime

Books

The most iconic, trenchant and irresistible island books, as voted by a panel of literary community luminaries.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Local Fruit in Hawai‘i

Fruit

Fruits are part of our history and culture, a way for us to feel connected to our community.

 

 

A Local’s Guide to Buying Reef-Safe Sunscreen

Sunscreen

Five Hawai‘i brands have created reef-safe sunscreens that are safe for your ʻohana and the ocean. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags