Duane Kurisu Leads Efforts to Build Affordable Housing with Homes from Tohoku

​Council Leader Duane Kurisu​, Chairman and CEO of the aio Group, is the driving force behind Kahauiki Village, a community of affordable housing units in Hawaii. The first families moved in last week.

Japan played a role in making this possible: the prefabricated, modular homes come from Tohoku, and previously housed those who were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Earlier this month, Japanese dignitaries paid a visit, praising the initiative.

Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Iwao Horii (left) was among the Japanese dignitaries who visited the community. Mr. Kurisu is third from right.

Inspired by the plantation community culture, Kahauiki Village provides family-friendly services like child care and preschool facilities, and keeps utility costs low through a microgrid that stores solar energy in batteries. It is meant to provide long-term housing and opportunities for homeless families in transitional housing. (Read more about Mr. Kurisu's vision here (Hawaii Home + Remodeling is published by aio.)) When completed, the community will include 153 homes, with rents about 50% below the market rate, and nearby employers will provide jobs within walking distance.

This large-scale public-private partnership is the result of collaboration among government entities (including the State of Hawaii, the City & County of Honolulu, the U.S. Navy and the Hawaii Army National Guard) and dozens of companies, including several led by or affiliated with USJC members, such as ​aio, iQ 360, Hawaiian Electric Company, HPM Building Supply and Y. Hata & Co., Ltd.

The community has received extensive media coverage, including Hawaii News Now, Honolulu Magazine, and KITV. Congratulations to Mr. Kurisu and everyone involved in the project!