After more than a year of planning and construction, the City and County of Honolulu opened a new transitional housing facility on Sand Island, welcoming the first six residents Thursday.

The facility, dubbed Hale Mauliola, can accommodate up to 90 homeless singles and couples in housing units that are modified shipping containers.

So far, 10 of 26 containers, painted in light yellow and orange, have been installed. The rest will arrive by the end of the year.

Kimo Carvalho, director of community relations at the IHS, says the facility will be run with few “barriers to entry.” Couples, for instance, will be allowed to stay together. Pets are also welcomed — though they have to be kept in a designated area.

Another group of six residents is scheduled to arrive Monday.

The Institute for Human Services, the largest homeless shelter operator in Hawaii, has an $850,000 contract with the city to manage the facility on a 5-acre plot of state land. In September 2014, the state allowed the city to lease the parcel, rent-free, for three years to run the facility.

Kimo Carvalho, director of community relations at the IHS, says the facility will be run with few “barriers to entry.” Couples, for instance, will be allowed to stay together.

Pets are also welcomed — though they are allowed in some of the housing units.

Clarification: An earlier version of this story didn’t make it clear that the pets are allowed in some units, while they’re off-limits to the others.

“The thing is, you don’t want to move someone into a unit that was formerly occupied by a pet in case that person has allergies. That actually becomes a legal issue for us,” Carvalho said.

Hale Mauliola with single person units featuring 3 people per container. Sand Island homeless camp. 19 nov 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The facility uses modified shipping containers to house up to three people per unit.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

All of the housing units are equipped with a bed and linens, as well as a solar-powered light and phone charger. A lockable storage unit will also be installed later.

The main trailer, where the IHS staff is stationed, features an air-conditioned room that doubles as an intake center and communal kitchen, which will be equipped with outdoor grills, and a separate office for providing case management services.

Another trailer houses multiple units with a bathroom, shower and sink.

Each unit for singles features a bed with linens.

Each unit for singles features a bed with linens.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The facility's main trailer features an air-conditioned space that doubles as an intake center and communal kitchen.

The facility’s main trailer features an air-conditioned space that doubles as an intake center and communal kitchen.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

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