Crews on Tuesday began installing three modular housing units in Waianae for working homeless individuals and homeless families with children.
A one-bedroom unit compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act and two two-bedroom units are on a 7,500-square-foot, city-owned property at 86-537 Halona Road once used for recovering substance abusers. The modular, or compact, units delivered Tuesday measure about 500 square feet, each containing a kitchen and bathroom facilities. The city contracted with Hawaii Modular Space to build the units at a cost of about $109,000 each.
The project is not considered an emergency or transitional shelter. The goal is to relocate homeless squatters from parks and other public areas into permanent housing.
Site work, contracted with Ideal Construction Inc., cost about $425,000 and included clearing overgrowth, removing asbestos from the existing dilapidated structure and demolishing the building, according to the city.
City officials expect additional site work, including leveling the units and landscaping, to be completed next month and for tenants to move in by the end of October.
City spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke said in an email Tuesday that city officials have been updating and sending letters to neighbors about the project. He said the city Department of Community Services is working to secure a property manager.
The project, presented to the Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board last year, has drawn criticism from some community members who cited concerns about the size of the site, potential effects on property values, and whether tenants would be screened and monitored to ensure neighborhood safety.
But George Keliikoa, whose house is adjacent to the site, said he does not mind living next to the modular housing.
“It (property) looks better. They all need a home,” said Keliikoa, who has rented his home for five years. “I can’t speak for everybody. I just speak for myself.”
Faye Crabbe, who lives across the street from the property, agreed. “It’s a good thing,” she said. “I can’t wait for the neighbors to move in.”
Another modular housing project — slated for a 1.1-acre Farrington Highway site near Waianae High School — is planned to accommodate 75 to 90 homeless people. The city has said it is working with community members to develop a conceptual plan.