Kahauiki Village Gets 3 Million Dollar Donation and Wins Award
Plantation-style community gains more support.
Kahauiki Village, the plantation-style community that has been home since January to 30 formerly homeless families gained more support this week, both in a big cash donation and an award.
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is donating $3 million to support the groundbreaking initiative to create an affordable plantation-style community as long-term housing for Hawai‘i’s homeless families. The $12 million, 13-acre development combines modern tech, such as a solar microgrid, with traditional look-out-for-your-neighbor values.
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino
The foundation’s donation will kick start the next phase of the project, which, when completed, is designed to include 153 homes and about 600 residents.
The public-private partnership was the vision of businessman/entrepreneur Duane Kurisu, head of the aio Group (parent company of HONOLULU Magazine). The community already has classes for residents, links to job opportunities nearby, and a preschool and daycare center that enrolled 20 when it opened in July. More homes, a rec center and garden are all planned.
"The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation's generous contribution will jump start Kahauiki's next phase of development," Kurisu said. "After just seven months, Kahauiki Village is already changing lives and more help is needed."
Volunteers, from left to right: David Morimoto, Jennifer Oyer (nee Hee), Duane Kurisu, Brian Dote, Cariann Ah Loo and Gina Gelber.
Photo: Jeff Hawe
In January, 30 families moved in with tears of joy, happy to be starting a new phase of their lives, with neighbors who help each other with childcare, rides, meals and support. The project is unusual in providing long-term, permanent low-cost housing while most homeless programs only offer transitional, shorter-term programs.
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines this week also announced it has awarded $15,000 to Kahauiki Village, calling it “a first of its kind community in the United States providing long-term affordable housing for homeless families with children on the island of O‘ahu.”
A public vote helped encourage the FHLB decision.
The award recognizes community partnerships for their support of local economic development and small-business needs. When complete, the village plans to include a preschool, daycare center.
This project was nominated by Finance Factors, Central Pacific Bank and Bank of Hawai‘i, Kurisu says he was inspired by a package of stories about homelessness he read in the April 2015 edition of HONOLULU Magazine.
For more information on the project, go to kahauiki.org.