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New HHH Homes For Waimanalo

The June 1 groundbreaking for six Honolulu Habitat for Humanity homes in Waimanalo brought together lawmakers, officials and representatives from all six Habitat families - Ah Yee, Gomes, Joseph, Kam, Kane and Lai. Photo from Roddy Kwok.

A mini-neighborhood of six homes is slowly taking shape in the Kumuhau subdivision of Waimanalo.

In fact, Honolulu Habitat for Humanity was pouring its know-how and volunteer effort into Hawaiian homestead property even before the official groundbreaking June 1, as a dozen helping hands stepped up to clear the lots in time for the day’s ceremonies. This also is the first time in its 25-year history that HHH has undertaken such a large, multiple home-building project at one time.

“Each home requires about 700 volunteers,” said assistant executive director Roddy Kwock, explaining the self-help model used by the nondenominational Christian housing ministry. To help cut costs and foster pride in ownership, each qualified, low-income family must contribute 500 hours of sweat equity toward their own and their neighbors’ home construction. Most activity is on Wednesdays and Saturdays to accommodate work schedules.

The six homes are all in a cul-de-sac on Kumuniu Place, Kwock said, noting that when done they will not look like the prototype homestead houses either. “It takes about seven to eight months to complete one Habitat house, but these will maybe be done within a year – and it could get competitive (to see who finishes first).”

One advantage of the HHH program is that Habitat families get to know their neighbors way before moving-in day; another plus is that workers and volunteers show the families skills to help maintain their houses once they become homes.

Kwock, who joined the nonprofit group about a year ago, added, “I love it. I can’t wait to get to work every day.”

HHH plans to dedicate its 68th Oahu home later this month in Waiahole Valley. To volunteer, or to get other program details, call Kwock at 538-7575 or visit honoluluhabitat.org.