On a weekend in June, over 150 volunteers including the Hawaii National Guard, contractors, union carpenters, all working as one community constructed in about a day a village of 20 micro-housing units at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pahoa, Hawaii. Some volunteers, themselves, were impacted and displaced by the Kilauea volcano eruption which has already destroyed more than 700 residences.
This is a project of HOPE Services Hawaii (HOPE), an affiliate of the Roman Catholic Church in the State of Hawaii and a HUD Continuum of Care Partner. They are planning to build affordable housing for homeless families and seniors at the Church site.
About 3 weeks into the disaster, HOPE was asked to be a partner in the development of temporary micro-shelters to assist households who had lost their homes. The ask was to develop an acre of the 14.5 acres leased by Hope Services, and transform the space as a symbol and place of hope for those in lower Puna.
The 'Sacred Heart Shelter' includes a hygiene trailer, onsite showers and restrooms and a community pavilion that serves as a communal kitchen. It is free, temporary housing for lava evacuees. Priority is being given to the elderly exiting congregate shelters with nowhere to go.
Local businesses and organizations contributed in one way or another by providing supplies or labor. The 10-by-12-foot micro-units serve as a model for other communities and faith-based organizations to replicate as Public/Private/Non-profit Sector initiatives to create housing for the homeless.