City unveils affordable apartments in Makiki to aid homeless families

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Affordable apartment units are now available for struggling families in Makiki.

On Monday, April 24, the city blessed 42 apartments at the corner of Piikoi and Hassinger streets that have been set aside for households experiencing homelessness.

The city acquired the property, the home of former Loveland Academy, in November 2015.

The 20,000 square-foot parcel includes two refurbished buildings; a three-story walk-up and a two-story walk-up. The property has four three-bedroom units, three two-bedroom units, 24 one-bedroom units, and 11 studios. There are also four ADA-compliant units of each type located on the ground floors.

One of the one-bedroom units will be occupied by a resident manager who will live on the property and supervise tenants. A laundry room, parking lot, and landscaped play area were also incorporated into the design.

“This used to be a school, so we converted a school into housing. We spent about $6 million for the building and we spent about $6.4 million to renovate it and turn it into a beautiful place for people to live in,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “We’re looking for families with children. That’s our priority.”

Property manager and service provider Housing Solutions Inc. (HSI) will soon begin reviewing applications for prospective residents. Priority will be given to families with children under 18 years of age and a household member who is employed. The maximum income for applicants is 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).

Applications and tenancy requirements have been provided to all Oahu homeless service providers. Potential tenants must have certification from a provider that shows they are experiencing homelessness.

You can also email Shanelle Lum, HSI general manager, at

“At the Legislature and the City Council, many years ago, we focused a lot on funding new shelters, and we realized that just really isn’t a model that works to help people to succeed and to move on, to better lives,” said Honolulu City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine, “and so our new model now with the city is we’re no longer going to be building and promoting shelters, but we’re going to be building and promoting places of hope to live, where you can have your own key and lock your door, and especially for the family members where you’re going to know your children are going to be safe.”

The city and HSI have been engaged with area stakeholders, and formed a Community Advisory Committee at the request of City Council to conduct meetings and welcome the new tenants into the neighborhood.

“We understand that people get worried when we talk about bringing homeless into any community, and it’s incumbent on us at the city and housing solutions now to address those concerns, and as people move into the facility, that the problems do not occur,” Caldwell said.

HSI has 30 years of experience in property management, real estate development and homeless services.