An empty piece of property owned by the state is being leased out to the city to build temporary housing for Honolulu’s homeless.
Hale Mauliola, named after the Hawaiian goddess of health and well-being, will offer wraparound services and be built on land adjacent to Sand Island Access Road.
City officials said it will cost about $500,000 to get the facility built and an additional $800,000 to run it annually — the first project of its kind, but not the last.
“If we do it well, homeless who are now living in Kapalama Canal, Kakaako will say we’re willing to come here now,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “It allows us to have privacy. It allows us to have security. It allows us to come and take a shower and use the bathroom in privacy and be safe.”
The plan calls for up to 25 modified shipping containers at the site. Each modified container will be divided into three or four units of approximately 40-53 square feet. Each living unit will have windows, a lockable door and portable lighting. Pets that do not pose a threat to other residents will be allowed.
The site will have a central hygiene trailer with private individual showers, toilets, sinks and electric outlets. Washbasins and clotheslines will be provided for laundry. There will also be a common area for residents. Shuttle service will be provided to the nearest TheBus stop.
Officials are hoping to have the shelter up and running by late summer or early fall.
“This will be an area to transition homeless people off the streets and into permanent housing, over a 60-day, on average a 60-day period,” said Jun Yang, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing.
Hale Mauliola will be a point of entry into Honolulu’s system of homeless services known as the Continuum of Care, and be a centralized location where homeless individuals can go for basic services, and begin the transition out of homelessness.
Homeless persons arriving at Hale Mauliola will:
Go through a standardized intake and assessment process to determine their specific needs,
Have a case manager assigned,
Have an individualized support program developed to determine a path to begin the transition out of homelessness, and
Be offered various housing and shelter options that may help them begin the road back to housing within the broader community.
The city issued two Request for Proposals Tuesday, one for construction of the Modular Container Homes and the second for a service provider to provide supportive services on site. Bids for construction are due on June 24 and bids for supportive services are due on June 19.
A contractor will remove the kiawe and the Department of Facility Maintenance will grade the site and apply a smooth, recycled asphalt surface. The State Department of Health tested the soil at the site this year for potential hazards and found that it was safe.
The service provider will operate an intake center and program office. The service provider must provide intake services Monday through Friday during business hours, and accommodate both referrals and drop in clients.
A major concern is security. The proposed housing is just steps away from the Sandbox BMX track, a facility that is used by lots of kids on a weekly basis.
“Right now, they’re in parts of our town, right near where we live and work and play everyday, and the same concerns there are expressed,” Caldwell said. “But I think here, we have a controlled managed program, and I think it will work much better than the situation we’re living with everyday in the City and County of Honolulu.”
Officials tell us the facility would have 24/7 security.
“This is an interim step,” Yang said. “We’re wanting to build out more of our permanent housing with the $32 million the City Council has given to the administration to use. This interim step is available to us through the state and the agreement is for about three years.”
The units will be provided at no cost to qualified residents. Persons who reside in these units must be engaged in case management and a service plan that will allow them to transition to housing or shelter within 60 days.
People will not be allowed to pitch their tent or construct temporary structures at the project site.