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First families welcomed home to Kamakoa Nui

Gerry Durante and Shyanne Parong get the keys to their new home from Hawaii County Managing Director Wally Lau. (Photo courtesy of Hawaii County)

MEDIA RELEASE

Four families, first-time homeowners employed along the South Kohala coast, got the keys to their new homes Tuesday at Kamakoa Nui.

Kamakoa Nui, a workforce housing project by the County of Hawaii, offers affordable homes with a goal of helping people live closer to work, allowing them to spend more time with their families.

A key ceremony and new homeowner celebration was Tuesday at Kamakoa Nui featuring remarks by Managing Director Wally Lau, Housing & Community Development Administrator Stephen Arnett, and a blessing by Pastor Lani Larrua of Abundant Life Ministries in Waikoloa.

Lau recalled a visit to the Kamakoa Nui site early on in Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administration.

“We just envisioned at that time where the park would be, where the homes would be, where the families would be, where the children would be running around,” he said. “For me and the mayor, it’s always been about healthy families and healthy communities.”

For Gerry Durante and Shyanne Parong, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment they were renting was fine until their second son joined the family three years ago.

“We were interested in this project since the early stages. It’s been a long process, but we’re glad it’s done,” Parong said. “We finally have a place to call home.”

Fee-simple homes at Kamakoa Nui, priced between $235,000 and $350,000, are being offered to resident families with household incomes of no more than 140 percent of the area median income. For a family of four, that comes out to $97,440.

Additionally, Habitat For Humanity will purchase four lots at Kamakoa Nui. This will allow families with even lower average monthly incomes to be able to afford homes.

A workforce housing project in Waikoloa had been a goal since 2005. A previous attempt ended in litigation between the county and the contractor.

In 2010, the project was reborn as Kamakoa Nui. The sitework, first model homes, and the community park were completed in 2011 with sales of new homes beginning in 2012.

The first four families at Kamakoa Nui are:

* Cacoulidis Ohana: Shayne, Purisima and Kijai
* Corpuz Ohana: Eliezer and Janice
* Durante Ohana: Gerry, Shyanne Parong, Shayden and Shaztyn
* Spear Ohana: Peter, Wendy and Shaniah

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