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Ground broken for new affordable senior rentals in Hilo

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Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7


(Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)

(Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)

Ground was broken Thursday morning for Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood, a new 60-unit affordable senior rental housing project in Hilo.

Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood Phase 1 is the result of a public-private collaboration between State of Hawaii’s Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), County of Hawaii, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) and the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation (HICDC).

HHFDC provided $20.5 million in state and federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, a Rental Housing Trust Fund (RHTF) loan of $8.6 million, and a Rental Assistance Revolving Fund (RARF) loan of $7.5 million.

The project is also financed with $600,000 in HOME Investment Partnership Act funds administered by the County of
Hawaii and a $4 million interim loan from RCAC.

The rental units are targeted at seniors whose incomes are at or below 30 to 50 percent of the Hawaii County median income as determined by HUD. Utilizing rental assistance from HUD and the County of Hawaii the tenants’ share of the monthly rent will be
approximately 30 percent of their income for a 576 square foot one-bedroom unit. In exchange for federal and state financing and tax credits rents will remain affordable for 61 years.

“By providing public lands and working with the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation, the County of Hawaii continues its collaborative efforts to provide safe, decent and affordable housing for our kupuna,” Mayor Billy Kenoi said. “In addition to generating much need jobs today, the Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood Phase 1 project will be a model as we build an expanded center to serve the needs of our growing senior population.”

“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 government,” said HICDC Executive Director Keith Kato. “The cooperation of the Federal, State and County agencies has been the key in putting this project together with our investors, the HHF Equity Fund VI, LLC. We are working to continue the development of this Mohouli 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. ”

“Public-private partnerships like this are essential to producing affordable housing,” said HHFDC Executive Director Karen Seddon. “By leveraging state resources, we are able to produce more with less. In addition to delivering safe and affordable housing for our seniors, these projects also create construction jobs and project value, investing in the future of our community.”

Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood is located at the corner of Komohana and Mohouli Streets in Hilo. Phase 1 is comprised of 11 residential buildings and a community gathering place connected with covered walkways.

In addition to the new Hilo Adult Day Center future plans include 90 more residential units for seniors.

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 to 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 HICDC has worked with 254 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 188 units.

All together HICDC has developed 442 affordable housing units on Hawaii Island.

(Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)

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