Wailuku Union Church (WUC)

Wailuku, Maui

As one of the oldest church congregations in Hawaii, Wailuku Union Church (WUC) has served as a place of worship and hub of social activity in the community for over 150 years. In addition to the current church site, WUC has maintained ownership of the original mission grounds site located at the mouth of Iao Valley between Main Street and Aupuni Street.

This site is currently one of the only large, undeveloped tracts of land in central Wailuku town and is accessible on foot, within a 3-block radius, to social services agencies, public transportation, medical facilities, churches, schools, the library, and several retail stores.

The proposed Mission Grounds Development Project is planned to develop the 2.66 acre Mission Grounds site in a culturally and historically appropriate manner, with the objective of helping to address critical community needs, including: 1) A 84-unit affordable rental housing project aimed towards seniors and A Community Resource Center; and Affordable Rental Housing.

The centerpiece of this development project will be a 84-unit affordable rental housing project. The objective of this project component is to provide affordable rental apartments for low-income families, people who are elderly, and people with disabilities. Those renting includes households who are newly formed (such as moving out of their parent’s homes to be on their own), established households that are downsizing (such as retired persons, those whose children have “left the nest”), and others who do not have the desire or the financial ability to purchase real estate. All of them rely on the supply of available rental units for their housing needs. This applies even more so, to those who are living on a fixed income – for them, since apartment living offers security, convenience, community, and affordability.

Community Resource Center

The Community Center will be a space with a multitude of uses by the community as follows: (1) Gathering space for the residents of our Affordable Rental Housing; 2) Conversing with the Board of Health’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation we have discussed this space being used as a “Learning Center” for those who are differently-abled being taught ‘Life Skills’ to transition to self-determined independent living, vocational skills, new technology, math and reading; (3) for emerging congregations as a place to meet and worship, (4) for non-profit organizations to hold meetings and fundraisers, (5) for public and private organizations’ meeting space, (6) for organizations in need of a commercial kitchen to assist in their fundraising requirements, and (7) other uses as needed by the community.

The development of the property will enable WUC to carry out its social justice (pono) mission as well as create a steady, self-sustaining income stream of revenue for years to come. We see this development as helping several underserved, disadvantaged groups: low-income local seniors, native Hawaiians, emerging Micronesian and Samoan churches, nonprofit groups. Our neighbor has a large pre-school and is excited for the possibility of volunteers from our housing to work in the preschool. Our project would assist everyone in the community from the 6- month-old to the 96-year-old and is WUC’s response to the theological question: WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR (the Good Samaritan parable, Luke 10:25–37.)

We are grateful to the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation and the A&B Foundation for their steadfast support and generous grant which will be used for the future preschool’s development.