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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ground broken on homes for seniors

By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser West O'ahu Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The Rev. William Kaina blesses the ground at 91-1034 Namahoe St., future site of the Senior Residence at Kapolei. The project will provide 59 affordable units for rent to elders whose incomes are at or below 30 percent to 50 percent of O'ahu's median income.

Photos by ANDREW SHIMABUKU | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Bungalowlike apartments will be surrounded by shaded walks and lawn areas.

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An affordable rental housing project being built for seniors in Kapolei is the result of a joint effort by three levels of government and the nonprofit Pacific Housing Assistance Corp.

The 60-unit project, on a parcel on Namahoe Street within the A'eloa Village 2 subdivision, is targeted for elders with incomes at or below 50 percent of O'ahu's median income.

At present, that would mean a couple must not make more than $29,800 and a single person no more than $26,100, in order to qualify. Tenants would pay 30 percent of their income in rent.

Officials attending groundbreaking yesterday for The Senior Residence at Kapolei said the project can't come soon enough in an area starving for affordable units for those who have reached or are approaching retirement age.

"This need is going to continue to rise because our state's population is aging," Gov. Linda Lingle said, pointing to statistics showing there are 238,000 residents in the Islands who are 60 or older. "Everyone knows that, everyone talks about it, but the actions that have taken place so far regarding kupuna housing, and affordable rental housing generally, have not kept up with the rhetoric."

In this case, the $13.5 million project is being financed with $10.75 million in capital advance funds from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program, a $1 million loan from the state Rental Housing Trust Fund program, and a $1.75 million loan from the city HOME program.

Additionally, the state is leasing the land to Pacific Housing Assistance at $1 a year, while the city and state are both providing general excise tax and real property tax exemptions for the project.

The project is expected to be open for tenants in about a year. It consists of 59 one-bedroom apartments in single-story, four- and six-plex buildings. One unit will house a resident manager.

Pacific Housing Assistance Corp., headed by Executive Director Marvin Awaya, was formed in 1980 as a housing nonprofit. It has helped develop nearly 1,400 affordable housing rental and for-sale units statewide from Honolulu to Mililani, Kane'ohe to 'Ewa Villages on O'ahu, and even in Lana'i City.

"We know that their track record is solid, we know that they will be able to achieve great things," Mayor Mufi Hannemann said, noting that Pacific Housing Assistance also partnered with the city and the state to develop the Palehua Terrace affordable apartments in Makakilo.

Awaya said people won't be able to sign up for the Kapolei units, to be set up through property manager Management Specialists Co., until next May.

Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at gpang@honoluluadvertiser.com.