Fair touts sub-$300,000 homes

KALAHEO — Most residents want one — a home — but how many does the island need?

That was only one of the questions that may be answered following the educational housing fair yesterday at the Holy Cross Church in Kalaheo.

“We’re excited about the developers on hand to show off their prospective offerings on affordable housing packages,” said Kendall Hirai of the Hawai‘i Homeownership Center.

Hirai was an integral part of the Home Prepare fairs held the past two years to assist residents through their home ownership tribulations.

At those events, there were only a limited number of developers who showed up.

Yesterday’s event saw a wide variety of projects spanning all parts of the island.

As an example, Hirai pointed out a project offering a fee-simple-ownership house and lot package just outside of Kapa‘a for less than $300,000.

“Actually, it’s in the low- to mid-$200,000 range,” Hirai said.

That project, Kealanani, quickly had names added to its signup sheet.

Paul Kyno, one of the representatives for Kealanani said there were more than a dozen names added in the first 10 minutes of the show.

“We still have a ways to go before 1 p.m.,” Kyno said. “We should have a lot of interested people.”

The Saturday event, despite being held at the same time funeral services were being conducted in the church, drew a lot of interested people.

According to a press release from Mary Daubert, the county public information officer, Saturday’s event was the first of five fairs planned for different parts of the island.

“If you miss the fair in your neighborhood, the same informational sessions and exhibitors will be presented in each region,” said Susan Tai, a member of the Kaua‘i Affordable Housing and Traffic Coalition. “If you cannot attend one in your area, join us at another location.”

Among the people at the Saturday event were people who had already signed up for projects, but were looking for different alternatives in financing.

Those answers could be found as financial institutions on hand included American Savings Bank, Bank of Hawai‘i, Central Pacific Bank and First Hawaiian Bank.

“We’re waiting for ours to start,” said the mother of Justin Luis, 3, who seemed more interested in the sunshine outside than listening to the slate of speakers who presented various topics on home ownership.

“The project is supposed to start in September and we’re just looking for financing options.”

Similarly, a single mom had the same concern, thumbing through her collection of literature while keeping an ear open to the speakers.

Kaua‘i Mayor Bryan Baptiste said there is a need for affordable housing, and encouraged people present to tell others to turn out for the future fairs. Mayor Bryan Baptiste said the county is aware there is a need. “We need to know how much, and where projects are needed,” he said.

The turnouts will hopefully answer some of those questions.

During the workshops, Hirai presented a housing DVD that offered the audience testimonials from Kaua‘i residents who thought homeownership was out of reach.

In addition to Kealanani, other developers included A&B Properties, Inc., the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, D.R. Horton/Schuler Homes, Ecumenical Association for Housing, Habitat for Humanity and Plantation Partners.

The Boys & Girls Club offered up a separate room where keiki were kept occupied while parents listened to the various speakers.

The fairs are sponsored by the Kaua‘i Affordable Housing and Traffic Coalition in partnership with the County of Kaua‘i, Falko Partners and Hawaiian Community Assets.

This Saturday, the fair moves to the Kilauea Neighborhood Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On March 17, the fair is at the Kapa‘a Elementary School.

March 24 the fair sets up at the convention hall in Lihu‘e and on March 31, the final fair will be at the Waimea Theater.

For more information, call the Hawai‘i Homeownership Center at 245-5860.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.

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