HILO, Hawaii — A new affordable rental housing development broke ground Thursday in Hilo. Hawaii Island officials and community leaders welcomed the start of Hale Na Koa ‘O Hanakahi.

It’s for seniors with a preference to serve U.S. military veterans and their spouses. The 5.5 acre project will offer 92 affordable housing apartments and a community center for people 62 and older. Construction is expected to begin in mid-2022.

“Ninety two units is a drop in the bucket compared to the thousands and thousands of units needed. We’re happy to make a very small dent,” said Marian Gushiken, Director of Real Estate Development for Hawaii for EAH Housing.

“This is a big deal. With our housing crisis and a lot of vets not being in the best financial situation, living on a fixed income, late in life – any little bit helps,” said Rep. Christopher Todd, District 2.

The driving force behind the project is the Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial, committed to providing housing and other essential services in Hilo for veterans and their families. It’s been working for 15 years to make this a reality.