There are roughly only about 40 acres of land within Waimea 400 that is suitable for housing. During the West Kaua‘i Community Plan (WKCP) process, affordable housing for the Waimea community, including those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, was identified as a goal by the West Side community. Within this goal, the objectives that could apply to Waimea 400 are to:
Allow new residential growth to infill outside of the Coastal Edge and within theTown Center and Walkable Neighborhood designations;
Support a master-planned new community mauka within the Walkable Neighborhood designation (orange-shaded area below) to accommodate workforce housing, planned growth, and a potential SLR managed retreat area; and
Support development of transitional housing for those experiencing homelessness, with a focus on local families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Shown in the map below is where the housing could be located on the site within the Walkable Neighborhood designation, adjacent to the existing Waimea residential area, and out of both the special flood hazard zones identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Sea Level Rise Exposure Area (SLR-XA).
What is the housing requirement for Waimea 400? A portion of the money used to purchase the Waimea 400 site was provided by the County Housing Development Fund. Pursuant to the terms of the purchase, a portion of the site must be used for affordable housing. However, there are no existing plans or requirements for the number of units or the type of housing. The only requirement at this point is that the housing must serve those with incomes at or below 120% of the area median income (AMI). In the case of Waimea, this equates to $85,550 per year or less for a single-person household or $122,200 per year or less for a four-person household. These income thresholds are updated every year for each county by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and are scaled according to household size.
Is there a way to prioritize who will be selected for the affordable housing? The County Housing Agency can specify a variety of preferences for applicants such as those who are from the area, or who have family in the area, or who work in the area. Specific occupations can also be listed as preferences such as teachers, police, and fire fighters. First-time home buyers can also be listed as a preference. Please note, however, that depending on where funding may come from to build the affordable housing, additional requirements may be placed on applicants such as lower income maximums such as 80% AMI or 60% AMI and federal funding may not allow the County to specify certain preferences.
Are there any current housing projects that might impact Waimea 400?
In response to the Covid-19 Emergency, the County instituted a “Shelter in Place” program that established a long-term permitting program that allowed homeless individuals to camp at five designated County Beach Parks, including Lucy Wright Park in Waimea. Under this permitting scheme the number of permits per park were limited in an attempt to adhere to social distancing guidelines. The Shelter in Place system is being phased out beginning on March 31. The Shelter in Place program will be discontinued at Lucy Wright Park effective April 30, 2021.
The County explored a temporary “Tiny Home” project in Lucy Wright Park to house homeless individuals in the mauka portion of the park. This project envisioned converting what is now a long-term tent encampment into an organized and managed tiny home community. This project was abandoned in advance of any wide-spread community outreach due to restrictions attached to the federal funds earmarked for the project, which made it impossible to complete in the funding timeframe.
After abandoning the “Tiny Home” project in Lucy Wright Park, the County Housing Agency explored constructing two duplex units (four 1-bedroom units total) on a lot on Alawai Road to provide supportive housing for formally homeless individuals. This would have provided an opportunity to relocate some qualified families from Lucy Wright Park to a safe and supportive housing situation. In the face of community opposition from residents on Alawai Road, paired with expenditure deadlines for federal funds, the County also abandoned this potential project, and reallocated available funds to another shovel-ready project in Līhu‘e.
The Housing Agency continues to explore affordable housing projects for County land on Alawai Road, and will engage with the community in the future on this effort.
Other useful resources:
Kaua‘i County Income Limits based on different AMIs can be found HERE.
What is the difference between Affordable, Supportive, and Transitional housing?
Affordable housing refers to long-term housing that is affordable by that section of society whose income is below a certain threshold.
Supportive housing refers to affordable housing where the tenants have access to support services in addition to housing. These services can include: life skills training, medical care, social activities, problem substance use rehabilitation programs, and case management.
Transitional housing refers to time-limited, affordable, supported or independent housing. Tenants can usually remain in transitional housing for up to 2 or 3 years.
Example County housing projects:
Kealaula on Pua Loke Supportive Housing Development: This project consists of 15 single-story duplex buildings, each containing two, one-bedroom or studio units with bathrooms and kitchens, and one community building. Wrap-around services are included, such as case management. It is the first project that Kaua‘i County has done specifically tailored to address the homeless population and transition them from a state of homelessness to housing.
Kalepa Village phase I, II, III, IV: This project consists 180 affordable rental units. There is a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units each with a refrigerator, stove, washer and dryer. Amenities at the complex include parking, a recreation center, a playground, and an on-site resident manager. Phases I, II and II serve those at 60 % AMI and below and Phase IV serves those at 80% AMI and below.