City acquires 24-unit building on Beretania St. to house homeless

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The city unveiled Wednesday the latest development in a plan to house more of Oahu’s homeless.

The city purchased a three-story, 24-unit apartment building on Beretania Street for $6.9 million.

Tenants must be experiencing homelessness (sheltered or unsheltered) and make less than 50 percent of the Area Median Income, which is $35,160 for a single person and $50,250 for a family of four.

Housing Solutions Incorporated has been selected as the property manager and will begin accepting applications from prospective tenants in December.

“We’re doing all that we possibly can to house more of our homeless individuals and families in the communities where we find them, and to help them get their lives back and their dignity back. It requires the entire community to be welcoming,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Rents follow Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation affordable rent guidelines and are capped at $942 for one-bedroom units and $1,131 for two-bedroom units.

Tenants receiving housing subsidies such as Housing First, HUD-VASH, or Section 8, pay a rent of 30 percent of their income, with the remainder of the rent covered by the subsidy.

There is no operational funding for the project, and property management and tenant services will be paid for through rental income.

“This property ideally meets several desired objectives,” said Office of Strategic Development administrator Sandra Pfund. “It provides permanent rentals in an area that includes varied retail options, public transportation, and community amenities. Additionally, the property was fully renovated, ready for occupancy and vacant so we could quickly assist a good number of people.”

There are 20 one-bedroom, one-bathroom units and four two-bedroom, one-bathroom units. Two of the units are being retrofitted to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The building is just one of several ongoing city initiatives to assist Oahu’s homeless population.

The city is also overseeing the development of an affordable permanent housing facility in Makiki, modular housing projects in Waianae, and will soon celebrate the one-year anniversary of Hale Mauliola, a housing navigation center at Sand Island.

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