Enterprise center going up in Kekaha Homestead

LIHUE — Excitement is growing as a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-funded public facility progresses through construction on the Westside of Kauai on Hawaiian Home Lands in Kekaha.

The facility is part of a project planned by the nonprofit Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, in partnership with Kauai Community College and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

“We applied to KCC back in 2008 to partner on a competitive proposal to HUD to create a facility for enterprise development, economic and business training on Hawaiian Home Lands in West Kauai,” said Lilia Kapuniai, the CNHA official leading the project. “This is one of my favorite projects because it really came from the community, from leaders and elders that saw a need and worked with us to make it happen. I know it’s going to be the foundation for so many great things to come for the people in West Kauai.”

The parcel where the facility is being constructed was licensed to the Homestead Community Development Corporation, a tax-exempt nonprofit controlled by native Hawaiian homestead associations.

Section 207 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act provides lands not available for homesteading to be used for public purpose or dedicated to a beneficiary controlled organization, such as HCDC.

“This is definitely a big need in the native Hawaiian homestead community, a facility to gather, to conduct trainings, to host college outreach, job fairs and financial literacy trainings,” Kapuniai said. “The aunties from Kekaha were adamant about CNHA working on this project with them, and to focus on creating economic opportunities for the next generation of West Kauai homesteaders. It’s great to see the physical structure go up, representing the rise of their dreams for their young people, and for sure it will serve the entire West Kauai community.”

Local Kauai contractor, Leggs Yokotake Construction, LLC., won the bid to construct the modest building, with an estimated completion date of September 2013.

“Our nonprofit will partner with the West Kauai Hawaiian Homestead Association to manage and care for the facility when it’s complete,” said Kapuniai. “We have many other partners lined up to deliver programs at the facility beginning in fall 2013.”

The Kekaha Enterprise Center is a project of CNHA and its Hawaiian Way Fund, dedicated to the capacity of cultural and community practitioners. For more information on the Hawaiian Way Fund contact (808) 596-8155 or email info@hawaiiancouncil.org.

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