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Former UH Maui College dormitory buildings to serve as emergency housing

By Staff | Jul 23, 2020

Mayor Michael Victorino speaks during a July 14 blessing ceremony for the Huliau housing project at the former UH-Maui College dorms in Kahului. PHOTOS BY THE COUNTY OF MAUI.

KAHULUI – Former University of Hawaii Maui College dormitory buildings were blessed last week Tuesday morning for Huliau, a project to make safe housing available for people who’ve fallen into homelessness. “Huliau” means “turning point, time of change.”

At the blessing, Mayor Michael Victorino thanked Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran, Representatives Kyle Yamashita and Troy Hashimoto, and the Maui County Council for their role in securing funding for a much-needed housing project in Central Maui.

“We all saw an opportunity to create much-needed housing for some of Maui’s most vulnerable individuals and families, and our Maui state legislators worked tirelessly to secure five million dollars in funding to rehabilitate the existing buildings,” Victorino said. “Maui County Council members approved funding for the project, and UH-Maui College, led by Chancellor Lui Hokoana, helped return the property leased by the state back to the County of Maui. This project is a great example of collaboration – making great things happen with teamwork.”

The county Department of Housing and Human Concerns led planning and development of the project with assistance from the Planning Department.

The project’s first phase is 12 two-bedroom units in three former dorm buildings. The project also includes a separate community center building with laundry facilities and office space for wrap-around social services. The county is currently evaluating whether more housing units can be added in future phases.

Kahu Kapono‘ai Molitau conducts the blessing for the Huliau housing project.

Project funding is $5 million in Dwelling Unit Revolving Funds through the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. Once the project is complete, support for property management and wrap-around services for the residents will be provided through ‘Ohana Zone funding.

In a future partnership with UH-Maui College, student interns will assist Huliau residents with financial literacy, case management and hygiene/social services.

Contractor Arisumi Bros. reported that the existing buildings are in better condition than anticipated. Renovations are focused on gutting and replacing the interior spaces, checking for structural damage and making repairs. The project is targeted for completion by early 2021.