HomeAid Austin’s Community First! Village — A neighborhood built especially for addicts and people suffering from mental illness has inspired Hawaii’s Lt. Gov. Josh Green to team up with HomeAid Hawaii to address the current crisis of those experiencing homelessness in Hawaii.
For the first time, Lt. Gov. Josh Green is officially coming out against homeless sweeps. Green said exclusively to Hawaii News Now, “Sweeps don’t work ultimately because it disrupts people’s lives. There’s more crime. It’s not a solution unto itself.”
Green announced a new partnership with a HomeAid Hawaii to create master-planned communities for the homeless.
HomeAid Hawaii’s Executive Director Nani Medeiros along with a group including Lt. Governor Green flew to Austin, TX to learn about Community First! Village. After returning home to Hawaii, Green wants to move forward to build smaller versions of these master-planned neighborhoods in Hawaii.
“HomeAid stands ready to mobilize the building industry and our private sector partners to bring in what we do either pro bono or very deeply discounted,” said executive director Nani Medeiros.
According to Hawaii News Now, The lieutenant governor says possible locations are being looked at in Waianae, Waimanalo (across from the beach park) and in the urban core (off Middle Street).
Medeiros says, “We’re having engineers and architects look at it, to tell us if we can build, and what does that look like.” She says for this to work, the non-profit’s counting on government to provide infrastructure — and help cutting through red tape that often delays construction projects.
When it comes to cost Green says he estimates 100 tiny homes can be built for $2.5 million. He says money would come from a combination of government funding and donations.
If the project gets the go ahead, Green says the hope is to break ground on the first Kauhale village sometime next year.