‘This is my home’

LIHUE — Eva Gouveia is happy to call Kaniko‘o home.

“I love it here. It’s one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had,” she said. “The people are really caring; we’re not forgotten.”

Gouveia moved into her two-bedroom unit at Kaniko‘o four months after the first phase opened in March 2015. She doesn’t have plans to leave.

“This is my home now,” she said. “I get to live in paradise again.”

The $14 million project boasts 60 affordable housing units for kupuna.

The complex is available to residents 62 or older who make no more than 60 percent of the area median income. Qualifying residents have their pick of a one-bedroom unit, which costs $854, or a two-bedroom unit, which costs $1,022.

Dorothy Medeiros, who lives in a one-bedroom unit, was one of the first people who moved into Kaniko‘o.

“I love it. It’s close to the stores, so it’s very convenient,” she said.

She appreciates that the development was built with wooden floors.

“It’s hard for people who have a walker or who use wheelchairs to get around if there’s carpet,” she said.

All 60 units of Kaniko‘o are occupied, said Mary Daubert, county spokeswoman. By the end of the year, residency is expected to grow.

Phase II of Kaniko‘o is underway, and construction is scheduled to be finished by November. Residents are expected to move in by December, said Vykky Gamble, property supervisor for Kaniko‘o.

“(The project) is going well as per construction schedule,” she said. “The roofs are completed, the windows are currently being installed and the siding is going up.”

Once completed, the 30-unit building will feature 24 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom apartments ranging from 606 to 778 square feet. The units in that phase will be available to people who make more than 50 percent of the area median income.

Gamble did not disclose the cost of Phase II.

Rents for the one-bedroom units in phase two will be $809 per month while the two-bedroom units will rent for $970 per month. Rent includes water, sewer, refuse service and electricity.

The amenities for phase two include energy efficient electric appliances and lighting, vinyl plank floors, cable hook-ups, ceiling fans and laundry facilities.

In addition, the complex features a community center with a kitchenette, garden plots and drought resistant landscaping.

The apartments are also designed to take advantage of the prevailing tradewinds for natural ventilation.

EAH Housing, the managing company in charge of Kaniko‘o, is taking applications for the second phase. The deadline to apply is Sept. 23.

About 20 applications have been turned in to the office, said Susan Mathis, resident manager of Kaniko‘o.

Margaret Hood has been living at Kaniko‘o for two months.

“I was renting at Sun Village, and the owner sold the unit I was living in,” she said.

Hood said she is enjoying her experience at Kaniko‘o.

“The people are really nice and quiet, and the yards are well maintained,” she said.

Gilbert Sagawa has lived at Kaniko‘o for almost two years. He said the area is quieter than where he used to live.

“I lived in Kapahi with my mother until she died,” he said. “Then this opened up. I was one of the early picks, so I was lucky.”

Sagawa tends to the community garden daily.

“I plant herbs and whatnot,” he said.

Hood and Gouveia said they’d like to see more activities offered in the lobby of Kaniko‘o.

“Card games would be fun,” Hood said.

Gouveia suggested the development offer classes in lei making, beading, quilting and sewing.

“It’ll let ladies get to know each other,” she said. “I want people to get together and talk about the old days and their good memories.”

Info: 726-2888 or www.eahhousing.org

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