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Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood project dedicated


Phase 1 of the Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood project was dedicated on Thursday, March 27.

The 60-unit senior housing project developed by the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation (HICDC) represents the initial phase of an eventual 15.9-acre senior complex that will include the relocation of the Hilo Adult Day Center and up to an additional 90 senior residential housing units.

A site blessing for the planned Hilo Adult Day Center building followed the dedication.

“The Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation wishes to acknowledge the assistance that we have received for this project from all levels of federal, state and county governments,” said HICDC Executive Director Keith Kato.

“Their collective willingness to partner with us is allowing 60 local senior families the ability to move into affordable housing near their families,” Kato said. “We are now moving forward to continue the next phase of the development of the Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood project with a new home for the Hilo Adult Day Center to replace their current facility at the old Hilo Memorial Hospital on Rainbow Drive. ”

The Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood project has been designed with Hilo’s rainy climate in mind.

All of the units have cross ventilation provided by doors and windows on the front and back of the units and covered walkways connecting all units to the rest of the complex, including the community center which has a laundry, mailboxes and a large activity room.

All units are one-bedroom, one-bath, a full kitchen and are approximately 590 square feet in size.

The first 60 tenants have been selected through a lottery process run by the County of Hawaii’s Office of Housing and Community Development who volunteered to be the initial point of contact for all units whether the units will receive rental assistance through the County’s Section 8 program or HUD’s Section 202 program.

The Office of Housing and Community Development decided that being the initial point of contact for both programs would be less confusing for the senior applicants.

The $19.5 million senior housing complex is being funded by an $8.3 million capital advance from the HUD Section 202 program and $11.25 million in equity derived from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

The $11.25 million in equity is being provided by American Savings Bank, Bank of Hawaii, First Hawaiian bank and Island Insurance Company of Hawaii. Interim construction financing was also provided by the an $8.6 million loan from the State of Hawaii Rental Housing Trust Fund and a $4.0 million loan from the Rural Community Assistance Corporation.

The Hilo Adult Day Center is currently operating in the old Hilo Hospital on Rainbow Drive. This present structure, built in 1924, is inadequate to serve the future needs for the growing Day Center over the next 60-70 years.

The Hilo Adult Day Center Board of Directors have long sought an alternative location and are glad that the project has picked up momentum.

Plans for the new facility are being drawn, paid for by a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the County of Hawaii.

Additional funding has been secured during the past two legislative sessions in totaling $1.385 million.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie recently announced the release of $385,000 which will go toward the design and construction of the requisite infrastructure to support the Hilo Adult Day Center.

The fundraising goal of $7.5 million has been aided by a $500,000 CDBG grant being proposed this year.

It is anticipated that future funding from the State of Hawaii, private trusts and foundations and community contributions will complete the funding for this needed project.

The Mohouli project represents the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation’s seventh senior housing complex on the island. Citing a clear need for such housing, HICDC is planning to pursue funding to develop additional senior housing units at the Mohouli complex as well as projects in Kona.

The 15.9-acre site fronting Komohana Street was conveyed by the State of Hawaii through Executive Order to the County of Hawaii in 2008 for the purpose of developing a senior housing complex and related uses.

The County of Hawaii in turn leased the site to HICDC in 2009 and HICDC secured the necessary funding commitments in 2011. Site grading commenced in early 2012 followed by the building construction.

The project was granted its Certificates of Occupancy in December 2013.

The Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation (HICDC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to assist low and moderate income residents of the Island of Hawaii obtain affordable housing.

The two programs being carried out are self help housing and senior rentals, both of which are oriented to low income households.

To date the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation has worked with 284 Big Island self help builders to complete their homes, including projects in Kohala, Kailua-Kona, Pepeekeo, Keaukaha, Panaewa, Keaau and Mountain View.

Senior rental projects have been completed in Hilo, Waimea, Kapaau and Kailua-Kona totaling 248 units.

All together the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation has developed 532 affordable housing units on Hawaii Island.

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