Senior Living Strong

Home Pumehana celebrates 30 years.

When Jeanette B. Javillonar moved into unit E3 on Oct. 4, 1984, she was the facility’s youngest resident. Today, she is one of the senior-most inhabitants and has seen five managers and countless residents come and go.

Home Pumehana, the island’s only senior housing facility, celebrated its 30th anniversary last week with a luncheon on Dec, 1.  Alu Like and Na Wahine U`i O Molokai treated the crowd to performances over lunch, served by Aka`ula School students.

Residents and employees said Home Pumehana provides a critical affordable living option.

“The cost of living is horrendous,” said eight-year resident Mele Nerveza, especially on a fixed income. “This place we can afford.”

Without the facility, Housing Manager Jersula Manaba said, “a lot of [the seniors] would be living with family. Here they have their independence.”

Home Pumehana opened in 1980 with 80 units. Ten years ago, it added five more units, and three years later opened a senior center that is available to the public for events. Manaba said one of her long-term goals is to add a similar building, noting that the space is frequently requested.

Over the last ten years, management has also updated kitchens, painted and installed new windows.

“The grounds, the buildings, everything’s improved since I’ve been here,” Javillonar said.

The facility is operated by the private non-profit Hale Mahaolu, which has 13 facilities in Maui County including low-income senior, disability and family housing. Manaba said the wait for units at Home Pumehana is six months to a year.

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