Josha Courtney receives a home of her own in Kekaha

KEKAHA — After losing her apartment and being hospitalized for stress-related health issues, an 81-year-old artist says she is now happy in her new home.

Josha Courtney is a resident at the privately-owned Kekaha Plantation Elderly Housing. It is where she wants to be — on the Westside where she plans to remain for the rest of her days.

“I moved in last Tuesday and I have never been happier,” Courtney said.

After a month of applications, follow-through and red-tape, Courtney was handed the keys to an apartment. She said the location and facilities allow her to continue living independently.

“It took a lot to bring it all together and I just went with the flow and it all worked out perfectly,” she said.

Courtney was evicted from her small studio in the Hanapepe Historical Building in July to make way for a building sale. She spent about three weeks at Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital before being released on Aug. 15.

Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn “Nani” Hill, pastor of Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church, mustered some parishioners to move Courtney’s personal items from her apartment into storage while she was hospitalized.

Courtney was put up at the Waimea Inn for six nights, and then at the Kalaheo Inn for five more. The apartment search was ongoing, and Hill took her in for another week until the Kekaha residence was approved.

The experience was restful and helped restore her health, Courtney said. At first unable to walk, she can now move on her own for short distances and uses a walker around the property, and a three-wheel scooter to reach public transportation for doctors appointments and church in Hanapepe.

“I am happy and am so grateful to Nani, to everyone involved and to God who reigns over all no matter what,” she said. “Nani has been so absolutely wonderful every step of the way.”

Hill said that as Courtney’s saga unfolded throughout July and August, they discerned how to help her each step of the way.

“It was all about a relationship of the aloha spirit, with Josha and having faith and trust in God,” Hill said. “Josha’s story is our story as we witnessed her steadfastness through all that she went through. We are amazed because it has been a journey of faith.”

Hill assisted Courtney with a 10-page application that required an extensive background history of housing, taxes and employment, with statements from the Social Security Administration and her bank. She was also cleared by her home health care and assistance agencies.

The apartment is situated next to the building laundry and was fitted with new carpeting prior to her moving in. It has more than twice the square footage as her Hanapepe studio, she said.

“This place is more than I imagined or expected,” Courtney said.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0424 or by emailing tlaventure@thegardenisland.com

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