‘ELE‘ELE — Friday was a special day for five Kaua‘i families on the island’s westside, as the families of Jolynn Largo and Robert Badua, Parnell and Brayanna Legaspi, Randall “Lumbo” and Ku‘ulei Palau, Melody Pacanas and Joshua and Hope Del Conte each received keys to their new homes.
“Today is our opportunity to celebrate the hard work and accomplishments made by our homebuyers who worked diligently alongside our staff and volunteers during the construction of the homes, and all the community leaders, partners, supporters and volunteers who made this tremendous occasion possible,” said Kaua‘i Habitat for Humanity’s Executive Director Milani Pimental, who presented the keys to the new residents.
For the Largo/Badua ‘ohana, and the Legaspi ‘ohana, the house keys represented one of three milestones celebrated by the Kaua‘i Habitat for Humanity ‘ohana that broke ground on the 17-unit Kauhale O Waipouli on Wednesday.
The Largo/Badua and Legaspi ‘ohana will move into the first two completed homes in the Waimea Huakai subdivision that, when completed, will include 32 single-family homes.
That’s in addition to the 35 affordable rental units developed by the County of Kaua‘i and Ahe Group in the area across the road from the Waimea Athletic Field, and a stone’s throw from Waimea Canyon Middle School and the West Kaua‘i Medical Center and Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital, run by the Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation Kaua‘i Region.
“I going sit on your porch,” a volunteer chirped from the small crowd to Badua, who perched proudly on the stairs, in the shade cast by his home’s roof across the road from “Kaua‘i’s oldest house, Hale Puna.”
For the Del Conte, Pacanas and Palau families, their keys
represent the final three homes to complete the 125-home ‘Ele‘ele Iluna neighborhood, built on 24 acres of land Kaua‘i Habitat for Humanity acquired from McBryde Sugar Company in 2007 by then-director, the late LaFrance Kapaka Arboleda.
‘Ele‘ele Iluna was built in two increments, Pimental said. The first increment included 18 homes, and the second phase had 107 homes being built in incremental phases.
“This is commitment,” said Doug Haigh, president of the Kaua‘i Habitat board.
“We are proud of the new ‘Ele‘ele and Waimea homeowners, and honor all their hard work to make this happen,” said Haigh.
”I have been part of Kaua‘i Habitat as a volunteer since 2004, and seeing the completion this week of our long-term project here at ‘Ele‘ele Iluna brings a sense of real accomplishment and pride for the important work we do,” he said.
Funding for the completed homes was provided through U.S. Department of Agriculture affordable mortgage loans, including USDA Rural Development Section 502 Direct Loans to Homebuyers, and a USDA Rural Development 523 Technical Assistance grant that funded overhead costs related to construction of the homes.
“Sweat equity is important,” said Pimental, as the homeowners reflected on the combined thousands of man-hours that went into building and learning about their future homes.
“Sweat equity brought my son back to me,” said Melody Pacanas.
Lumbo Palau added, “I’m sorry I yelled at you. Thank you for welcoming us to your neighborhood.”
In a post-key-passing get together on a vacant lot near the roundabout at ‘Ele‘ele Iluna, Pimental and her staff and Kaua‘i Habitat board members distributed welcome home gifts.
The gifts included contributions by members Koloa Surf Company, Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital staff, Kaua‘i Habitat for Humanity and its Homeowner Support Committee, a painting from local artist Sandy Ambrose, and handmade quilts from Kaua‘i quilter Jeni Hardy.
“This brings Kaua‘i Habitat to 233 homes built over the past 30 years,” Pimental said. “And we’re not done yet.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island