Long-Awaited Affordable Rentals

[Photo 1: Representatives and community leaders join hands for a blessing and groundbreaking.]
Representatives of the affordable housing project and community leaders join hands for a blessing of the first phase of the Villages at Moa'e Ku and groundbreaking of the second phase.

Ewa Beach Community Celebrates Opening of the First Phase of Villages of Moa'e Ku Affordable Rentals.

"This project almost didn't happen - several times" sums up the anticipation behind a long-awaited grand opening. The Villages of Moa'e Ku is an Ewa Beach affordable rental project. After years of planning dating back to the 1990s, it celebrated the grand opening of its first phase. They also had a blessing to start the construction on the second phase.

The development of the three-phase, 192-unit affordable-housing project was once known as Area H. It began as part of the City and County of Honolulu's ambitious effort to revitalize the historic plantation town in Ewa Beach.

Representatives of the affordable housing project and community leaders join hands for a blessing of the first phase of the Villages at Moa'e Ku and groundbreaking of the second phase.

The initial plan included preserving plantation-worker homes and building affordable homes for former sugarcane workers and families. However, the plan was cancelled in 1990 due to insufficient financial support from the City and County of Honolulu.

Department of Housing and Urban Development community development block grant funds helped buy the 24-acre Area H parcel. Additional financing was still required. Since then, this project took years of public-private collaboration, community perseverance, and piecing together financing to introduce what is now known as the first phase of the Villages at Moa'e Ku.

In the 1990s, Area H originally intended to assist workers and families making less than 80 percent of Honolulu's median income.

Today, the first phase of Moa'e Ku offers housing to a gap group of individuals and families earning 30 to 60 percent of Honolulu's area median income. This is roughly $20,000-$41,000 for a single person or $29,000-$59,000 for a family of four.

[Photo 2: Apartment homes in four clusters with common green and a tot lot area.]
Newly built apartment homes at Villages at Moa'e Ku in Ewa Beach, Hawaii. Apartment homes for families are arranged in four clusters, each centralized around a common green and a "tot lot" area encouraging a sense of community.

These individuals and families now have a home in one of 64 low-income, one to three-bedroom apartments. The demand for this type of housing is apparent and growing. The first phase alone attracted 300 lottery entrants and 200 additional applicants.

The second phase of Moa'e Ku is projected to be completed in May 2014. It will provide 76 additional units. The third and final phase is projected to be ready for ground breaking with the completion of the second phase and is contingent on financing. This third phase is planned to provide an additional 52 units. That will round off the 192 affordable housing units that will be available in the Ewa Beach community.

The Villages at Moa'e Ku exist in part due to the melding of monies from the State of the State of Hawaii's rental housing trust fund, tax-exempt bonds, low-incoming housing tax credits, HUD neighborhood stabilization program funds, and private loans. However, what it really highlights is the community effort and government support required to build such affordable housing developments.

More information on the Villages of Moa'e Ku (www.eahhousing.org/pages/featureddevelopmentdetail/101)

More information on EAH Housing (www.eahhousing.org/)

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Content Archived: February 3, 2015