About 50 people celebrated the pre-opening for the Hale Mahaolu Ewalu Phase I affordable senior housing campus Wednesday morning in the Kulamalu Town Center.


The rental housing project is for low-income families and individuals whose head of household is 62 years or older. Phase I of the project cost $20 million and contains 36 one-bedroom, one-bathroom units and two two-bedroom, one-bathroom units. A unit for a manager and a senior center also are included.


The first tenants will begin moving in starting Friday, Feb. 1.


A ground breaking and blessing also was held for the $11.7 million Phase II of the project, which contains 22 units. Construction is slated to begin Monday, Feb. 4, and be completed in early 2020.


“A project like this is only possible with the support and efforts of an incredible team of people,” Hale Mahaolu Executive Director Grant Chun said. “We are so appreciative of our funders, our county and state leaders and partners, our board, and our project team. We have a lot of excited new residents moving into Hale Mahaolu Ewalu shortly, and we are truly excited and happy for them as well.”


Construction on Phase I of the project began in April 2017. The senior center funded by The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is still under construction and scheduled to be completed in late July. The center will include a laundry mat, beauty salon, administrative offices, commercial kitchen and a maintenance shop.


The rental units are subsidized by project-based housing vouchers, which have been supplied for the first time ever by the County of Maui Department of Housing and Human Concerns Housing Division Section 8 office. The application period for the Phase I units was held in August 2018 and attracted over 280 applications.


A separate application process will be established for Phase II when it is closer to completion.


“This is a tremendous affordable housing project for our kupuna and I was thoroughly impressed with the design and structure of these units,” Mayor Michael Victorino said. “We as a county must continue to collaborate on affordable housing for our seniors as well as our hardworking local families.”


Funding was provided through the county Affordable Housing Fund; the state Grant-in-Aid; the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp.’s low-income housing tax credits and Rental Housing Revolving Fund; Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines; Bank of Hawaii; and Hale Mahaolu.


Ewalu will be Hale Mahaolu’s second senior rental housing campus in Upcountry Maui. The complex will ultimately provide a total of 61 affordable rental units for seniors.


The Kulamalu Town Center subdivision is a fast-growing neighborhood, which will ultimately contain a variety of stores, offices, restaurants and other amenities. A Long’s Drugs is within walking distance and a popular farmer’s market adjacent to the housing campus is held every Saturday morning. The Maui Bus also has a regular stop in the town center.


Hale Mahaolu, a private nonprofit corporation organized in 1967, has experience as sponsor, developer, owner, and manager of 16 properties (over 1,100 units) in Maui County.  The corporation’s purpose is to develop and manage safe, sanitary, decent, affordable housing, as well as provide support services for very low to moderate income seniors, individuals and families in Maui County.