Five new homebuyers get keys to their habitat homes

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Christian Parado pumps his fist in celebration after the keys to his new home opened the front door, Friday at the ‘Ele‘ele Iluna neighborhood.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    New homeowner Tara McCoy and Kaua‘i Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Milani Pimental share the joy of McCoy receiving the keys to her new home, Friday at the ‘Ele‘ele Iluna neighborhood.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Habitat for Humani home buyers, including Joel Santos,Kealoha Lum King, Christian Parado, Tara McCoy (on stairs), Miranda Wehrly, Keiryn, Annie, and Keith Nonaka celebrate receiving keys to their homes, Friday at the ‘Ele‘ele Iluna neighborhood.

‘ELE‘ELE — Friday’s weather was perfect for moving, and at least two of the five Kaua‘i Habitat for Humanity home buyers did that in the ‘Ele‘ele Iluna neighborhood.

Tara McCoy, Christian Parado, Miranda Wehrly, Joel Santos, and the Keith Nonaka family of Annie and Keiryn received the keys to their respective homes from Milani Pimental, director of the Kaua‘i Habitat for Humanity.

The key-passing ceremony included a welcome basket, a plant for the new home garden, a special painting rendered by artist Sandy Ambrose, the keys to the new home, and a lot of congratulations, smiles, and feelings of accomplishment brighten the day for the five now homeowners.

The ceremony also marks the total number of homes provided by the Kaua‘i Habitat for Humanity to 223 homes for residents. It also signals the near-completion of the ‘Ele‘ele Iluna neighborhood that will, once completed, provide 125 affordable homes to families on the West side of Kaua‘i.

“We have eight more homes to complete the project,” Pimental said. “We do each segment in groups of five, and we’re already starting the foundations for the next group of homebuyers.”

Following the completion of ‘Ele‘ele Iluna, Kaua‘i Habitat will start work in the Waimea Huakai project that will include 32 affordable single-family homes constructed next to the 35-unit affordable rental property.

“It really does take a village to help each other because a program like Habitat is definitely hard work,” Pimental said. “I thank everyone who gave support and encouragement to our new homeowners along the way. Congratulations go out to all.”

Among the five celebrating homeowners, Miranda, or Mimi, Wehrly is a member of a family who previously celebrated their own key passing. The Wehrly family’s son had also celebrated a home in the neighborhood said David Bieker of the Kaua‘i Habitat.

Pimental said Mimi has been a sales associate for several years with a local business.

“With the pricetags of Kaua‘i homes hovering at a million dollars and more, do you think she could just pick up the phone and call a realtor at this kind of market prices?” Pimental said. “She went through all of the work, getting help from family and friends with the sweat equity, and finally being able to move into her own home, today. That is affordable.”

Support for the recently-completed homes was provided by the USDA affordable mortgage loans (USDA Rural Development Section 502 Direct Loans to Homebuyers) and a USDA Rural Develop-ment Section 423 Technical Assistance grant.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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