Kamehameha grants aid charters, housing
Kamehameha Schools releases $9 million to help charter schools and the homeless
Kamehameha Schools is releasing nearly $9 million in grants to aid Hawaiian-focused charter schools and help the homeless Hawaiian population along the Waianae Coast.
About $4.8 million will go toward charter schools, and $3.9 million will go toward construction of family learning centers and transitional housing along the coast.
Twelve charter schools on Oahu, the Big Island and Kauai will use the money for construction, renovation and repair projects.
"It's a blessing," Alvin Parker, principal of Ka Waihona o Ka Naauao School in Nanakuli, said about the grants.
At his school, the grant will help pay for construction of a new classroom and a locker room, and renovations of restrooms to comply with regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
KAMEHAMEHA TO GIVE MILLIONS TO HAWAIIAN CHARTER SCHOOLS
Hawaiian-focused charter schools to benefit from a one-time grant awarded by Kamehameha Schools:
» Hakipuu Learning Center in Kaneohe
» Halau Ku Mana in Manoa
» Halau Lokahi in Waiakamilo
» Ka Wai Hona o Ka Naauao in Nanakuli
» Ke Kula o Samuel Kamakau in Kaneohe
» Kanu o Ka Aina in Waimea
» Ka Umeke Kaeo in Hilo
» Ke Kula o Nawahiokalani o Puu Iki in Keaau
» Kua O Ka La in Puna
» Ke Kula Niihau o Kekaha in Kekaha
» Kula Aupuni Niihau Kahelelani Aloha in Kekaha
» Kanuikapono in Anahola
Kamehameha Schools also is collaborating with the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and other city and state agencies to help resolve the homeless problem.
"None of us want to see families, adults or children in a houseless situation. Certainly, we don't want to see them without choices for a house and a home," Dee Jay Mailer, chief executive officer of Kamehameha Schools, said yesterday at a news conference.
Kamehameha Schools said it is funding construction of a 12,500-square-foot family learning center at a 25-acre site in Maili where a "transitional housing village" is being planned by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to serve the homeless.
The center is expected to offer job training, job placement, day-care services for children and other social services.
Officials do not want the homeless to travel elsewhere to get services, said Kaulana Park, executive assistant of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and project team leader of Operation HEART (Homeless Efforts Achieving Results Together).
Park said Kamehameha Schools has been a "huge component" for the state to establish a family learning center. "Without them ... we would have a hard time to get a community center facility," he said.
Plans also call for five duplex buildings to shelter the homeless, primarily those of native Hawaiian descent. About 60 percent to 70 percent of the homeless along the Waianae Coast are Hawaiian, Park said.
The studios and two-bedroom units will be built during the first phase of the project, with enough room for about 220 people -- with priority given to families.
About 240 affordable rental units are planned for the remaining 20 acres, to be built during a second phase, and expected to house 500 to 600 people, Park said.
Bordered by St. John's Road and Kulaaupuni Street, the site is owned by the federal government. Park said advocates are working quickly to transfer ownership to the state.
The first phase is estimated at $9 million. Construction is expected to begin soon, with completion by the end of the year.
About $7.3 million in state funds have been earmarked for the first phase to build the duplex buildings. Kamehameha Schools has set aside $1.7 million for the family learning center. The second phase of the project is expected to cost an estimated $25 million.
Additional family learning centers are planned for the Waianae Coast, Park said.