Winston Hale affordable housing facility opens in Chinatown

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A new affordable housing facility has opened in Chinatown.

Winston Hale consists of six micro-units, which are smaller than 300 square feet, and 29 existing units that were renovated via public-private partnerships.

Officials say it took about a year and approximately $1 million to get the building ready, with most of the work completed in-house by the city Department of Facility Maintenance.

After a blessing Friday, the first tenants began to move in. The city is working with Catholic Charities Hawaii, Helping Hands Hawaii, and U.S.VETS to provide housing for the chronically homeless.

“Like any journey, it starts with the first step. Today is a first step with the city building micro-units in a property they own, and then moving people in from the streets, from Chinatown, into permanent supportive housing,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

“The city is providing the property and vouchers, and the state is providing the mental health and case management services to keep people in the housing,” said state homeless coordinator Scott Morishige.

The city says it is working on more projects like this.

“We also acquired other buildings around town (such as) on Beretania Street in Makiki. We’re looking for more units,” Caldwell said. “Some are residential, but no longer used. Some were schools. Some were commercial spaces. All of those, (we’re) taking over spaces that did not have people in them and moving people back into them again.”

Rent varies based on the person’s income, and residents must sign and abide by a rental agreement.

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