Affordable Agricultural Housing

August 18, 2016

Twenty years after the closing of the last sugar plantation and a decade after the end of Del Monte’s pineapple plantation on Oahu, Kunia Village is being revitalized to ensure affordable housing for agricultural workers.

 

The hundred-year-old pineapple camp was recently blessed and rededicated to long term rental housing for persons working in the agricultural industry with household incomes not greater than 60 percent of the area median income.   Presently, the annual income limit for a family of four is $60,300, and housing expenses will be limited to 30 percent of income.

 

Stephanie Whalen, Exec. Dir. of Hawaii Agricultural Resource Corporation (HARC), and David Robichaux, Pres. of HARC’s subsidiary Kunia Village Title Holding, Co, had the vision and determination to press through multiple layers of red tape and obstacles to bring this project forward since receiving the property from James Campbell Co. in 2009.

 

Senator Mazie Hirono played an invaluable role in gaining the support of the USDA and helping work through some of the bureaucratic challenges.   Kahu Kordell Kekoa offered the blessing.  Also attending were Councilman Ron Menor, Senator Susie Chun Oakland, me, USDA representative Chris Kanezawa, lifetime village residents; and Re. Ty Cullen, contractors, and agency representatives (not pictured).

 

The first phase of Kunia Village involves refurbishing 45 houses and building 37 new plantation style dwellings.  In future years, Phase Two will aim to restore another 51 legacy units, while Phases Three and Four could add an additional 67 affordable units as the agricultural community grows. 

 

The refurbished and new, affordable plantation houses should become available for occupancy between now and February.  Residents must be employed in the agricultural industry, pass a criminal background check, and have a combined household income no greater than 60 percent of the area median income.

 

Applications are available onsite at Kunia Village, 92-1770 Kunia Rd, Kunia, HI, 96759, Monday to Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Catarina Sanchez is the management agent for EAH Housing.  She can be reached at 808-439-6375 and Catarina.Sanchez@eahhousing.org.

 

THREE DAY OPENNING TO APPLY FOR SECTION 8

 

The waiting list for Section 8 rental assistance will open on O‘ahu for the first time in 10 years. on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016 and close at midnight on Aug. 18, 2016.  Demand is expected to be heavy during these three days.  Apply online and get information at www.hpha.hawaii.gov.

 

 

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