ELEELE — Family selections for the Eleele Iluna, Phase II project will start as early as this week, said Stephen Spears, executive director of the Kauai Habitat for Humanity.
Spears spoke at the recent groundbreaking for the 107-affordable home project at the entrance to the new subdivision, where crews are scheduled to start infrastructure work and lot preparation for the first 48 of the 107 lots.
“This started back in 1997 with the vision of LaFrance Kapaka,” Spears said. “LaFrance anticipated the need on the Westside. It was a big bite for Kauai Habitat for Humanity, but through LaFrance’s efforts, the project got rolling.”
Spears said Kauai Habitat for Humanity is the only Habitat affiliate in Hawaii which is pursuing subdivision development as a response to the growing need for housing.
“We have a duty to our community — nearly 2,000 out of our 65,000 person population has contacted our office expressing interest in becoming a Habitat homeowner,” Spears said. “Our community has waited a long time and is really excited over the opportunities presented by this project.”
Wayne Katayama of the neighboring Kauai Coffee Co. was mulling the prospects of Kauai Habitat homes as possible housing for its ohana of employees.
“This would be an ideal place for them,” Katayama said. “We could send a truck for them in the morning and bring them home in the afternoon.”
Spears said the project is the result of many donors, volunteers and supporters.
“This is a true partnership as we watch people wearing all different hats working together for the same goal,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said. “This is not just about homes, but also of jobs as Waalani Enterprises is the general contractor for this project.”
Carvalho said the groundbreaking is the start of more to come in 2014.
“We can also look forward to breaking ground on Rice Camp Kupuna Housing in Lihue, 60 units in the first phase, and Kolopua in Princeville which will provide 44 workforce units,” he said.
Fran McDonald, campaign chair, said this is a critical time.
“With financing in place for the remaining infrastructure work, we need to keep the momentum strong and raise additional funds for the construction of the homes,” McDonald said.
Wanda Kau-Shibata, representing Gov. Neil Ambercrombie, said Kauai Habitat for Humanity should be commended for offering hard-working families the tool needed to become homeowners.
“It is the families’ goal to achieve the transformative effect of owning their own home and their willingness to work on it themselves which really makes this project work,” said Thad Bond, Kauai Habitat board president.
Meetings on the subdivision and how to apply for home ownership will be scheduled soon.
Construction is anticipated to start by late summer in the first increment of 48 homes. The second increment of 59 homes will follow in the project, which is anticipated to build between 12 to 15 homes each year.
Spears said this is Kauai Habitat for Humanities’ 21st anniversary on Kauai with 111 homes already built, another five under construction, and the new phase in Eleele Iluna getting underway.
People interested in submitting an application for home ownership should contact Catherine Shiningstar Kaauwai, family services manager, at 335-0296, ext. 117.
• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.