POIPU — When it comes to improving the island, progress is being made.
That’s according to Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr., who addressed a full house at the Sheraton Kauai Tuesday afternoon.
The second Mayor’s Luncheon, hosted by the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, updated the community on Holo Holo 2020 projects and the vision moving forward.
“A lot is happening on our island,” Carvalho said.
For about an hour, Carvalho addressed key issues on the island, from health and wellness and transportation to affordable housing and homelessness.
During his speech before about 250 people, Carvalho became emotional when he talked about county projects addressing affordable housing.
“We want to make sure every side of the island is affordable, environmentally friendly, where families can thrive, from keiki to kupuna,” he said. “I’m passionate about it because housing is housing. Any way we can build housing, whether it be single-family, or mixed use, let’s do it.”
He thanked Kauai representatives from the Senate and the House for their efforts to secure $13 million for the construction of Lima Ola, an affordable housing development in Eleele.
The proposed project includes about 550 residential units — single family, multi-family and senior resident units — complete with a community park and bike and pedestrian paths.
The development will be located mauka of the intersection of Halewili Road and Kaumualii Highway. Construction will begin in 2017.
“We’re moving, we have steps in place,” Carvalho said.
Another affordable housing project Carvalho is excited about is Kaniko’o in Lihue.
The senior community provides affordable rental housing for households with incomes no greater than 60 percent of the area median income unit — $36,300 annual income for one person, $41,460 for two.
The property boasts 60 apartments in six single-story buildings. Occupancy is slated to begin in November. What is special about the unit is that it allows a senior to live with a younger loved one, he said.
Another notable effort is adding 20 beds to Mana’olana, an emergency shelter for homeless, organized by Kauai Economic Opportunity, Carvalho said.The shelter, which used to be open only nights, will now be open during the day so people can get a shower, locker space and be evaluated by a doctor.
“The bottom line is we have a houseless community, and we have to step up,” Carvalho said.