National News

City celebrates success of a homeless housing project

Posted October 27, 2017 1:00 p.m. EDT

— At the beginning of the year, Shyla Paris and her 5-year-old son Solomon were living in a homeless shelter.

When she heard about an opportunity for affordable housing, she went for it.

"On crutches and everything, I came here, because I didn't want to miss the opportunity," Paris said.

She and 20 other families who were once homeless now live here in this building on Beretania.

It's one of several properties the city is using to help homeless families.

"When you have a safe place to lay your head, you can get up the next day and not have to worry," Paris said.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell's administration purchased the move-in ready property and another on Halona road in Waianae last October. Families pay between $900 to $1,100 in rent.

"What the city is doing in building these new properties, is helping end homelessness one family at a time," Gaye Johnston, Housing Solutions Incorporated said.

Paris is a success story but with many other families still on the streets, she says the solutions shouldn't stop here.

"We need to have a different type of execution plan to help different types of homelessness. Whether it be drug related, mental health or just displaced families because the rent is so high," Johnston said.

The building Paris lives in is managed by housing solutions. After just one year of opening, it's at full capacity - home to 37 adults and 42 kids.

"I hope that those children will never remember being homeless. There will be no stigma, no trauma, and they'll be like every other child in Hawaii that grows up having a place to live, goes to school and does well," Johnston said.

Another affordable housing project is under way along Farrington in Waianae.

It's expected to be move-in ready by January.