County Constructs Homeless Shelter at Old Airport

June 13, 2020, 10:32 AM HST (Updated June 13, 2020, 10:32 AM)
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Homeless man. Pixabay image.

Hawai‘i County began construction of a new emergency shelter in Old Kona Airport Park on Saturday.

Na Lamakū will be comprised of 18 temporary shelters. More than 50 volunteers, including members of the County Fire Department Recruit Class, will be pitching in to build the shelters. Tinguely Development has been on site all week, working in partnership with the County to prepare the site for vertical construction.

The temporary shelters, measuring 10 x 8 feet each, will be ready for occupancy next week and will accommodate individuals experiencing homelessness. Each unit can house up to two people. Community outreach teams are working to identify and engage with eligible individuals, who could number up to 30 people.

“We are so grateful for the tremendous generosity of Tinguely Development, who’s working on the pre-construction work pro bono,” said Mayor Harry Kim. “They tell us they’re doing this to give back to the community, and we deeply appreciate it.”

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The facility is being built with State and Federal assistance, which will pay for operation costs of an estimated $150,000.

HOPE Services Hawai‘i is working in partnership with other social service agencies to deliver 24/7 shelter monitoring services, delivery of “grab & go” meals,  and the coordination of on-site mental and behavioral health services.  They will also provide case management to connect program participants to appropriate permanent housing.

Sharon Hirota, the Mayor’s Executive Assistant in charge of homelessness, thanked the County’s Fire Department, Parks and Recreation, State Department of Transportation, Tinguely Development, HPM Building Supply, the West Hawai‘i Rotary Clubs and HOPE Services Hawai‘i and their partners for making Na Lamakū a reality.

The shelters are expected to remain on-site through the end of the year, and by then a more permanent facility will be ready on Kealakehe Parkway.

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