City eyes vacant Waianae lot for temporary housing development

Local News

Much of the focus has been on Kakaako recently, but the city is also trying to help homeless families living in Leeward Oahu.

The city wants to buy a vacant 1.1-acre lot at 85-248 Farrington Highway, next to Maluhia Lutheran Church.

If the deal to purchase the land closes in October, the lot will be transformed into modular units by the summer of 2016.

The “Farrington Project” will cost the city $2.3 million and cater to families with children.

The city is proposing 16 dwellings, one office, common areas and a community garden, along with 20 parking stalls. Each unit would have two bedrooms, one bath, and one full kitchen.

“We want to get these families in these homes where they can have a stable living environment, where they can have a kitchen and feel secure,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

“Putting money into the community is a good thing for the Waianae Coast, something that doesn’t put an eyesore or burden on community residents,” said Waianae Neighborhood Board member Cedric Gates.

The site is about a half-mile away from Waianae Boat Harbor.

Twinkle Borge tells us there are about 300 people living in a homeless encampment nearby and says the modular housing is a great opportunity.

But Borge, who calls herself the leader of the homeless encampment, isn’t 100-percent sold on the idea yet.

“Living out here versus living in a house is no different. You pay electricity, we pay for gas. Material is different. You, wood, us, tent. I sure hope they screen to know the people is from here,” she said.

It’s a concern shared by the Waianae Neighborhood Board.

“How will the mayor ensure that this does occur?” asked Gates. “In his statements, he is looking to make housing specifically for the Waianae community. Keeping Waianae residents in Waianae and keeping Kakaako in Kakaako.”

The city says it will work with service providers as well as leaders in the homeless community to decide which families will move into the new units.

“I want to go down to Waianae Boat Harbor and talk to what I consider two of my main advisers in Waianae – Loke and Twinkle, to see how they think the families should be selected,” said Department of Community Services director Gary Nakata.

Presentations on the proposal will be made at upcoming Waianae and Nanakuli neighborhood board meetings.

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