More Homesteaders for the Villages of Laʻi ʻŌpua

Photo: DHHL beneficiaries
DHHL beneficiaries select a lot for the new Laʻi ʻŌpua Village development. - Photo: courtesy

Photo: Cedric Duarte

In this space several months ago, we explored upcoming expanded homesteading options for Hawaiʻi Island waiting list applicants, including a new Rent-With-Option-To-Purchase project within the Villages of Laʻi ʻŌpua in Kealakehe.

In mid-April, the project became a reality for 60 beneficiaries on the Hawaiʻi Island waiting list who selected their rental units during a lot selection event at the Laʻi ʻŌpua Community Center. These beneficiaries are anticipated to move into their affordable single-family rental homes in October 2021 and will have the option to convert their rental into a 99-year homestead lease after 15 years.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the lot selection was held as a walk-through event following social distancing and gathering guidelines, including the use of a livestreaming platform to allow friends and family to witness the momentous occasion virtually.

DHHL’s Rent-With-Option-To-Purchase product will allow families who earn up to 30 percent, 40 percent, and 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) to pay an affordable monthly rent based on their income. The program differs from a rent-to-own product, where rent will not contribute to the purchase of the home. Instead, the tenant’s AMI at the initial qualification to occupy the units will be used in determining the sale price at the end of the 15 years.

A program of this nature requires public and private partnerships in order to successfully utilize financing tools and tax credits. For this project, low-income housing tax credit equity was secured by Hunt Capital Partners in collaboration with Ikaika ʻOhana and Urban Housing Communities. The homes were designed by architectural firm Design Partner, Inc. and built by Coastal Construction Co., Inc. ThirtyOne50 Management will function as the rental property manager.

In addition to the Rent-With-Option-To-Purchase project in Kealakehe, DHHL is in the process of developing several other Hawaiʻi Island projects, including the upcoming offering of vacant lots in Discovery Harbour, an additional 103 lots in the Village of Laʻi ʻŌpua subdivision, and the groundbreaking of its Subsistence Agricultural pilot projects in Honomū and Panaʻewa.