Five new buyers get the keys to their habitat homes

‘ELE’ELE – Friday’s weather was perfect for moving, and at least two of five Kaua’i Habitat for Humanity homebuyers did so in the ‘Ele’ele Iluna neighborhood.

Tara McCoy, Christian Parado, Miranda Wehrly, Joel Santos and the Keith Nonaka family of Annie and Keiryn received the keys to their respective homes from Milani Pimental, director of Kaua’i Habitat for Humanity.

The key handover ceremony included a welcome basket, a plant for the new vegetable garden, a special painting by artist Sandy Ambrose, the keys to the new house, and lots of congratulations, smiles, and good feelings. accomplishment brighten the day for the five now owners.

The ceremony also marks the total number of units provided by Kaua’i Habitat for Humanity at 223 units for residents. It also signals the near completion of the ‘Ele’ele Iluna neighborhood which, when completed, will provide 125 affordable homes for families on Kaua’i’s west side.

“We have eight more homes to complete the project,” Pimental said. “We do each segment in groups of five, and we’re already starting the foundation for the next group of homebuyers.”

Following the completion of ‘Ele’ele Iluna, Kaua’i Habitat will begin work on the Waimea Huakai project which will feature 32 affordable single-family homes built adjacent to the 35-unit affordable rental property.

“It really takes a village to help each other because a program like Habitat is really hard work,” Pimental said. “Thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged our new owners along the way. Congratulations to all. »

Of the five celebrating owners, Miranda or Mimi, Wehrly is a member of a family that has already celebrated its own passing. The Wehrly family’s son had also celebrated a home in the neighborhood, said David Bieker of Kaua’i Habitat.

Pimental said Mimi had been a sales associate for several years at a local business.

“With Kaua’i home prices hovering at a million dollars and up, do you think she could just pick up the phone and call a real estate agent at that kind of market price?” Pimental said. “She went through all the work, got help from family and friends with the sweat equity, and was finally able to move into her own home today. It’s affordable.

Support for recently completed homes was provided by USDA Affordable Mortgages (USDA Rural Development Section 502 Direct Loans to Homebuyers) and a USDA Rural Development Section 423 Technical Assistance Grant.

•••

Denis Fujimoto, writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.