October 22, 2021 | Source: Hawaii Business Magazine

It Takes a Village

So often in business you hear “public-private partnership.” What does that mean, and how is this concept transforming our communities in Hawaiʻi?

It truly has “taken a village” over the past 18 months to envision and establish the Puʻuhonua o Waiʻanae’s (POW) Farm Village. Community, government and other stakeholders worked together to build a Waiʻanae Valley Road community for houseless families. The project created a place of hope, resiliency, and a sense of renewal, which aligns with the values of G70, Hawai‘i’s leading multi-discipline design firm, and one of the partners in this effort.

“What the leaders of Pu‘uhonua o Wai‘anae have demonstrated is exemplary,” said Kawika McKeague, AICP, Principal with G70. “Their aloha for their community is unparalleled as it cultivates an energy and urgency to proactively safeguard the well-being of others who just need to know their life has value and meaning.”

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Photo: courtesy of Puʻuhonua o Waiʻanae

The project’s purpose: provide permanent housing for the 250 houseless people living near the Waiʻanae Boat Harbor. In early 2020 Governor Ige included POW under his Emergency Proclamation to address houselessness. Through private donations, sponsors, and individual giving and matching, the nonprofit arm of the village raised the money to purchase the land outright.

The village design and construction was made possible through massive, collective community support. G70 worked alongside an array of local architects, engineers, planners, technical specialists including Atelier 5, Central Plant Repair, Control Point Surveying, Cultural Surveys, Hawaiʻi, Habitat for Humanity, Hawaiʻi Wildfire Management Organization, HomeAid Hawaiʻi, Hui Kū Maoli Ola, Jake Johnson, Jim Schmit – JAS Architects, Kai Engineering, Natalie Snyder-Pond, and PBR Hawaii to plan, design and build the village, which includes a farming component.

Photo: courtesy of Puʻuhonua o Waiʻanae

More than two-thirds of people living in the village are Native Hawaiian, and structures include group living units, shared communal facilities, restrooms, indoor and outdoor dining areas and a health assessment center. Meanwhile, villagers must contribute to the farm, helping people rediscover a sense of purpose where community is its most valuable asset.

The project meets the community’s need for affordable housing, while supporting self-sustaining food production and creating a true sense of community and lōkahi.

The POW’s Farm Village is helping families who call this place home to reinvigorate their mana. It’s all providing a safe haven, filled with love and respect for all, to bring their dreams into reality.

For more information on Puʻuhonua o Waiʻanae please visit alohaliveshere.org.

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