Kahauiki Village modular homes arrive from Japan
These modular homes from Japan are the future and a possible solution to Hawaii’s housing crisis.
They are the vision of businessman Duane Kurisu who looked to his past, his plantation roots.
Kurisu raised a million dollars to help Japanese families recover from a deadly earthquake five years ago.
The Komatsu units were the answer to their homelessness and may be ours too.
"He stepped up and he helped. He had these homes built, these Komatsu homes and they helped house thousands of people who lost their homes after the earthquake and tsunami and get people back on their feet. And now it comes full circle. From aloha to Japan, to aloha for Hawaii's homeless," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
The city will spend $4 million to hookup water and sewer service.
The plans for the Kahauiki Village is to provide affordable rentals for some 200 homeless families.
The state is putting up the 13-acre site under a ten-year lease. And the governor's emergency powers will help cut through red tape.
The plan is to provide units to rent for about $400-$500 a month.
Affordable rentals are in the greatest demand, and many of the power hitters from the private sector stepping up to help have links to our plantation history.
"We are going to trim it up put a new roof, trim it up like a plain-Jane. Put on some makeup, some lipstick, new dress, new foundation, new shoes and of course, put a hat and change these units--- create a facility that the homeless can be proud of and call home," said architect Lloyd Sueda, of Sueda and Associates.
The vision is to create an old style plantation village with vegetable gardens, and fruit trees.
Banana, papaya and breadfruit are in the plans and maybe aquaponics too.
"You know like plantation days you grow a basketful of bananas you keep a few and give the rest to others. You grow ten heads of lettuce You keep two for yourself and give the rest to the neighbors that the kind of foundation we are trying to build," said Duane Kurisu.
Kurisu says the whole idea behind this plantation village is that the folks who actually live here will be able to take a short walk to work.
Not to a sugar mill, but possibly to United Laundry.
Former First Lady Vicky Cayetano is offering jobs for residents at the facility which is just a five-minute walk from the Nimitz site.
The two modular units unveiled today are a hint of what's to come.
The Institute of Human services will use them as offices at its Sand Island site for now.
A half a dozen business, as well as unions have stepped up to donate their services.
The city and state can’t tackle the homeless crisis alone and Kurisu hopes others across the community will help step up and give a little.
The site is an overgrown, trashed defacto homeless camp now, but Kurisu's Kahauiki Village is just getting started.