Since the eruption of Kilauea in early May, flowing lava has destroyed whole neighborhoods and hundreds of homes, forcing residents to leave and stay in shelters. As the government rushes to find housing options for the displaced, community members and volunteers have taken matters into their own hands. The 20 housing units, named “Sacred Heart Shelter,” are being built rapidly on an eight-acre plot of land in Pahoa, accommodating one family per house. They offer more privacy than traditional disaster relief housing and are expected to be completed by this weekend, according to Hawaii News Now.
The new homes measure 10 feet by 12 feet, with about 120 square feet of floor space. They are also meant to be transitional, weatherproof housing for families to stay two or three months, after which outreach workers will help connect residents with permanent housing. All of the efforts and materials needed to build these houses are donated by the community.
“It can’t be said enough that this effort was originated by members of the community,” said Darryl Oliveira, a safety manager with HPM Building Supply, in Hawaii News Now.
The land was originally designated for a homeless shelter, but is now being donated by Hope Services Hawaii, a non-profit organization of the Roman Catholic Church in the State of Hawaii.
The eruption is considered to be one of the most destructive in the United States. To date, more than 10,000 individuals are estimated to have been evacuated. While an additional 25 units will be built on an adjacent lot to the Pahoa lot, Hope Services Hawaii is continuing to search for additional sites to duplicate the housing project.