Volunteers in January construct a Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii home at a Department of Hawaiian Home Lands site in Kawaihae. (Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Volunteers in July construct a Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii home at a Department of Hawaiian Home Lands site in Kawaihae. (Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Workers construct a house in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates in June 2007 for the Habitat for Humanity Building Blitz for the Winterstrom family. (Baron Sekiya/West Hawaii Today)
More than 300 people will be needed every day for Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii and Blitz Home Builders to successful build five family homes in 240 hours this September.
Some 200 residents have expressed interest, in addition to the approximately 100 Blitz members who will travel to the island, in taking part in the 2012 Blitz Build in Kona event, said Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii Executive Director Pat Hurney. While that may equate to 300, Hurney said the organization needs more volunteers to ensure at least 600 hands are working at the five sites each day in order to pull off the feat.
“We’ve got quite a few people from all around West Hawaii,” he said. “But, (in) total we need 300 people out there each day.”
Habitat, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in West Hawaii, has partnered with Blitz, a national volunteer group, for the accelerated build event, said Hurney. The 2012 Blitz Build in Kona will construct the homes between Sept. 12 and 22 at the Villages at Lai Opua. Concrete slabs for the homes will be poured in early August.
Volunteers are needed every day for a variety of tasks including construction, safety, medical aid, registration and hospitality, said Margo Takata, Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii community relations director. Tools and other supplies, including hard hats and tape measures, are still needed.
Food is also needed to keep those 300 volunteers going each day, Takata said. Food and beverage items for a daily breakfast, lunch, and two snack breaks will be required. Examples of donations can be lunch for one house for one day, or enough to provide for 50 people, or snacks for two days.
An estimated $500,000, of which over $200,000 has been raised, is needed to complete the prepackaged homes, which are expected to cost about $100,000 each, said Tom Whittemore, 2012 Blitz Build in Kona project coordinator. Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii provides all the funding, tools and other necessities.
Responses to corporate sponsor letters sent out in April continue to trickle in, and Whittemore is optimistic more will arrive prior to the build. Various local organizations, businesses and other groups have already committed time, funding and in-kind donations.
“We are optimistic about achieving the goal because the community has shown strong support on both the funding and volunteer sides,” Whittemore said. “We are getting pretty good feedback and a positive response. … I feel good about where we are.”
However, if the organization is unable to reach its half-million-dollar goal, Hurney said the organization still has a backup plan. Up to $400,000 in federal Native American Housing Assistance and Self-determination Act block grants can be accessed, if needed, Hurney and Whittemore confirmed.
The five prepackaged, but modified, homes are being built in an effort to increase affordable housing opportunities in Kona. All are being constructed on Department of Hawaiian Home Lands parcels available to approved Native Hawaiian beneficiaries on a 99-year $1 annual site lease.
The build is also the first time in Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii’s history that it has built homes in Kona. Prior to the DHHL parcels, the cost of land led the organization to build out-of-town.
Four families, including three single mother-led households, have already been identified for the five new homes, Hurney said noting the screening process has not wrapped up for the fifth family.
Owning a Habitat-built home requires a recipient family earn 70 percent of the area median income and contribute 500 hours or more of “sweat equity” to build their own house or help other families construct homes. Recipients also agree to a 20-year, no-interest mortgage underwritten by Habitat for Humanity International that ranges between $350 and $450 a month.
To get involved in the 2012 Blitz Build in Kona, or to donate, visit habitatwesthawaii.org or contact Margo Takata at 331-8010 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested in the Blitz Home Builders program may visit blitzhomebuilders.org or email email@example.com.