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Community Celebrates New Affordable Housing Development for Senior Veterans in Hilo

November 11, 2021, 2:50 PM HST
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Hawaii Island’s elected officials and community leaders, gathered on Veterans Day to welcome the start of a new affordable rental housing development being built in Hilo for seniors, particularly those who are U.S. military veterans and spouses of deceased veterans.

During the event Thursday, EAH Housing, the nonprofit affordable housing developer of Hale Nā Koa ‘O Hanakahi was awarded a $145,000 grant from Nareit Hawaiʻi Community Giving Initiative. The 5.5-acre development will provide 92 apartments and a variety of lifestyle amenities for senior veterans.

“We are grateful to the Nareit Foundation for this generous grant, which will be used towards the development of Hale Nā Koa ʻO Hanakahi,” said Laura Hall, president and chief executive officer at EAH Housing. “This grant brings our organizations together as we strive to create strong partnerships to build more affordable rental housing and help improve people’s quality of life.”

Construction of Hale Nā Koa ‘O Hanakahi is expected to begin in mid-2022. The building will be located at 118 West Kawili Street in Hilo. Lifestyle amenities for senior residents (age 62 and older) include a common area lounge, coffee bar, fitness room, dog park, garden areas, multi-purpose room for social and educational activities, and a sheltered lanai and outdoor area for larger events.

The driving force behind the project is the Hawai‘i Island Veterans Memorial, Inc. (HIVM), a nonprofit organization administered by a volunteer board that is committed to providing housing and other essential services in Hilo for veterans and their families.

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“Hale Nā Koa ʻO Hanakahi is the result of an effort started 15 years ago as rents and the price of housing was skyrocketing in Hawaiʻi,” said Bob Williams, HIVM project manager and previous board chairman. “This new affordable housing community will give veterans and seniors an opportunity to age in place and live with dignity, which is something we all deserve, especially those that have served our country.”

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Nareit Hawaii Executive Director Gladys Quinto Marrone noted the $145,000 grant supporting Hale Nā Koa ʻO Hanakahi is a direct result of donations made by REITs in Hawaii to the Nareit Foundation.

“We applaud the mission of EAH Housing to provide affordable housing solutions for seniors in need and are especially proud to say, ‘thank you’ to veterans and their families for the dedicated service and sacrifices they have made to protect our freedom,” said Marrone. “It’s inspiring to realize the effort and commitment it has taken to make the vision of Hale Nā Koa ʻO Hanakahi into a reality, and it will be exciting to watch this community grow into a vibrant place of joy and fulfillment for seniors in Hilo.”

Elected officials participating in today’s event were Mayor Mitch Roth, Sen. Lorraine Inouye representing Senate District 4 (Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona), Sen. Laura Acasio representing Senate District 1 (Hilo), Rep. Chris Todd representing House District 2 (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea).

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County Council members Susan L.K. Lee Loy and Heather L. Kimball were also present.

Also attending the event was former Mayor Harry Kim, General Manager Daniel Kea of Prince Kuhio Plaza (owned by Brookfield Properties Retail, a REIT that donates to the Nareit Foundation), and numerous veterans, community supporters and volunteers providing services to veterans.

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