Hakim Ouansafi of HPHA and the Rev. Laverne Joseph of Retirement Housing Foundation, sign the development agreement.

UCC-related Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF), based in Long Beach, Calif., recently signed a Master Development Agreement with the Hawai’i Public Housing Authority (HPHA) to begin pre-development of an 800-unit affordable housing community for older adults in Honolulu.

The project will consist of three 20-story buildings that will include HPHA’s administrative offices, 800 affordable apartments with resident common area space, plus commercial space located on the first floor of the towers. The complex will be built in three phases, and will be located on a six-acre site that currently houses HPHA’s offices.

“We are pleased to sign this agreement and look forward to building and operating this premier affordable housing community in Honolulu for older adults,” said the Rev. Laverne Joseph, president and CEO of Retirement Housing Foundation, during the signing.

Across the United States, the number of older adults is increasing as the baby boomers age. In Hawai’i, some “silver tsunami” projections show that one-third of the state’s population will be over 60 by 2035.

“Our elderly population is growing faster than any other age group, and this opportunity fits our vision to assist our kupuna [honored elders] with affordable rental housing,” said Hakim Ouansafi, HPHA executive director. “This project will allow [our seniors] to thrive in a safe, accessible, and affordable environment with the support and companionship that a robust community offers.”

The new complex is “another big step toward our goal of completing 10,000 housing units by 2020, as we continue to address the tremendous need for affordable senior rentals,” said Gov. David Yutaka Ige of Hawai’i. “This public-private partnership and repurposing state land will help us lower the cost of development and create more affordable homes for those in need.”

With the signing of the agreement, RHF will now work with a team of professionals in fulfilling all the necessary government regulations and requirements — including funding — for the project. Construction of phase one is slated to begin in 2021.

“We are excited to partner with HPHA on this important project, and we are committed to our residents, communities and neighborhoods that we serve,” Joseph added.