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PAL Kaua‘i founder earns national award

LIHU‘E — Jim Edmonds of Kaua‘i Permanently Affordable Living and Emerald Isle Properties has been named one of the National Association of Realtors Good Neighbor Award winners for founding PAL Kaua‘i in an effort at keeping the island’s workforce from leaving and making housing available and affordable to residents on the island.

The announcement was made Thursday, said Nani Sadora of the Kaua‘i Board of Realtors.

Through the sponsors of the Good Neighbor Award, Realtor.com being a primary sponsor, Edmonds will receive a $10,000 grant toward his PAL Kaua‘i project. Since 2000, the NAR has awarded nearly $1.5 million to organizations across the country with the support of sponsors like Realtor.com.

On Sept. 13, the KBR hosted its second golf ball drop fundraiser since 2015 on the PAL Kaua‘i Kauhale O Namahana project site, raising more than $18,000 to support the 2023 KBR scholarship program as well as PAL Kaua‘i, a nonprofit, affordable-housing organization.

“We wouldn’t be here today on this project without our generous donors and receptive landowners like the Hay family of Kilauea,” Edmonds said. “We hope this project will encourage more private landowners like the Hays to step forward and offer land to affordable housing.”

The Hay’s gave PAL Kaua‘i the opportunity to purchase and is helping finance the 1.8-acre parcel where PAL Kaua‘i will be building 11 single-family homes.

Currently, PAL Kaua‘i is close to completion on its wastewater treatment systems at the project site, and will start construction of the homes in coming months with hopes to complete the project by the end of 2023.

PAL Kaua‘i Neighborhood Housing Community Development Corp., doing business as PAL Kaua‘i, is a nonprofit, affordable-housing organization whose mission is to provide homes and sustainable living solutions within reach, restoring hope for the Kaua‘i people.

PAL Kaua‘i develops and rehabilitates homes using innovative construction techniques and sustainable-housing practices to lower the cost of living for the homeowner or tenant.

Erica Christoffer of Realtor magazine profiles Edmonds in a Good Neighbor Award article, stating “Edmonds, a Realtor based on Kaua‘i since 1988, has seen the devastating effects of a changing marketplace up close. Over the years, skyrocketing prices have put homes out of reach for working individuals and families, while rentals became coveted high-end vacation properties.”

Realtor magazine said half of all homes sold on Kaua‘i are purchased by nonlocals, and 85 percent of all building permits are pulled by newcomers to the island. Today, there are more Native Hawaiians living on the mainland than in Hawai‘i.

“Jim Edmonds is working to change that,” Cristoffer wrote.

After reaching out to Native Hawaiians to learn about the growing affordability crisis, Edmonds started networking with nonprofits, affordable-housing advocates and local officials.

In 2018, Jim and wife Harvest Edmonds formalized their efforts in conjunction with islanders to establish PAL Kaua‘i with its mission to bring back affordable housing to Kaua‘i and keep longtime residents from leaving Hawai‘i.

“We want to restore hope for the people of Kaua‘i,” Edmonds told Realtor magazine.

In addition to the Kauhale O Namahana project, and in collaboration with like-minded partners, Edmonds is currently developing affordable-housing projects consisting of rental and for-purchase properties.

“One 13-unit apartment building opened in May, with another 45 single-family homes under construction,” he told Realtor magazine. “They are reserved for Kaua‘i residents and are within walking distance to many jobs and services. PAL Kaua‘i uses a priority and preference point system to select tenants and home buyers who already work nearby.”

w Info: pal-kauai.org
Source: The Garden Island

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