Triple Border
Quarterly Newsletter

Jan 2012 

In This Issue
HCA Assists 78 Families Secure and Sustain Housing in 2011
Report: Barriers & Solutions to Permanent Housing
Call to Action: Lease Cancellation
Call Us ~ We Can Help Prevent Foreclosure
Associations Bring Financial Services and Products to Homestead Families
Hawaii Youth Housing Leaders Join HCA
HCA to Serve 150 UHMC Students with Financial Education
Quick Links
2012 Homebuyer
Workshop Schedule 


Workshops are free to attend

Kapolei - DHHL Hale Ponoi
8:30a - 5p 
  • Feb 18th
  • Mar 17th   
  • Apr 21st 
  • May 19th 
  • Jun 16th 
  • Jul 14th 

Oahu - CNHA Training Room

8:30a - 5p

  • Feb 4th
  • Mar 3rd  
  • Apr 7th 
  • May 5th 
  • Jun 2nd  
  • Jul 7th 

Queen Liliuokalani Children's Center
8:30a - 5p
  • Feb 11th 
  • Mar 10th
  • Mar 24th  

Big Island
Hilo - Hawaii County Office Building
8:30a - 5p
  • Feb 11th
  • Apr 21st
  • Jun 2nd  
Kona - West Hawaii Civic Center
8:30a - 5p
  • TBA  


Kauai County Building -

includes orientation and 2 part workshop series
5p - 9p

  • Feb 6, 14/16
  • Mar 5, 13/15
  • Apr 2, 10/12
  • May 14, 22/24
  • Jun 4, 12/14  



For more information or to register for a workshop in your community, contact HCA at (toll-free) 1.866.400.1116. 

Hawaii Island Youth Save $1,086 in 6 Months!

HAWAII ISLAND - 20 Hawaii Island teenagers enrolled in HCA's Youth MATCH (Managing Assets to Change Hawaii) Savings Program, have collectively saved $1,086 in just 6 months!

While 4 participants have saved more than their original savings goal ($100), the average savings per teenager is $53.

The Youth MATCH Savings Accounts were developed by HCA as part of a pilot project funded by the Hawaii County Department of Research and Development.

Youth MATCH Program

Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA) is a HUD-approved housing counseling agency and Community Development Financial Institution.  HCA offers this quarterly newsletter to provide you with updated information on current programs and services.
HCA's mission is to build the capacity of low and moderate income communities to achieve and sustain economic self-sufficiency with a particular focus on Native Hawaiians.

HCA programs and products include:  
  • Renter Education and Counseling 
  • Pre-Purchase Homebuyer Education and Counseling
  • Post-Purchase Education and Counseling
  • Foreclosure Prevention and Loan Modification Services
  • Youth and Family Financial Education
  • Youth and Renters MATCH Savings
  • Tax and FAFSA Preparation Services
  • Credit Builder Loans
  • Loan Packaging

HCA Assists 78 Families Secure and Sustain Housing in 2011 


HAWAII - In 2011, as our communities continued to feel the impacts of the ongoing housing crisis,  HCA assisted 78 families residing in low-income communities secure and sustain housing.  Enrolled in the organization's free housing education education programs, families participated in group workshops and received one-on-one counseling, asset building services, and financial products to meet their housing needs. 


HCA FACTS - 2011"As the struggle to keep homes becomes real for more of our families, we have to put into action creative ways to meet our diverse housing needs," says HCA Executive Director, Jeff Gilbreath.  "In the coming year HCA will work with its partner organizations to combine housing  education and training of community members with proven strategies to increase household income and credit scores, so we can move families away from homelessness and into affordable rental housing and home ownership." 


According to Gilbreath, the success of local and State housing initiatives will depend on their ability to provide affordable housing that meets the income and credit needs of low-income renters, home buyers, and homeowners.  


30 Families Purchase Homes 

In 2011, HCA served 431 families through its homebuyer education and counseling program and assisted 30 purchase homes.


70% of HCA homebuyers bought homes through the Homestead Self-Help Housing Program, a collaborative effort by Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Kahua, Inc, Build Systems International, and HCA.  The program uses the self-help model, bringing together families to build a community of homes so they can help keep costs down to ensure the housing is affordable.  Homeowners qualified for 184(a) and USDA 502 Direct loan products. 


The remaining 30% purchased homes of Hawaiian Home Lands with financing through Veterans Assistance and Conventional loan products.  


14 Families Transition into Housing

Through its homeless prevention counseling program, HCA helped 14 families living in transitional shelters transition into housing with 57% securing affordable rental housing.


34 Families Sustain Housing  

Through its post-purchase and foreclosure prevention counseling programs, HCA helped an additional 34 families sustain housing.  In particular:

  • 18 families received post-purchase counseling to sustain home ownership;  
  • 6 families received loan modifications to prevent foreclosure;  and
  • 10 families initiated repayment plans to prevent foreclosure.

Report Identifies Housing Barriers and Solutions for Hawaii Families At-Risk of Homelessness 


WAIANAE, HI - On January 23 HCA unveiled an Annual Project Report providing an overview of the first 12 months of the organization's 3-year, $3.1 million project funded by the Administration for Native Americans and Office of Hawaiian Affairs to increase the transition rates and long-term financial success of individuals and families residing in transitional shelters on the Waianae Coast.

According to the report, HCA provided housing education and counseling services to 148 individuals residing at 3 targeted transitional shelters.  On average, individuals who received at least 8 hours of financial training and counseling, increased their income by $232, decreased their debt by $1,618, and improved their credit scores by 261 points. 


In addition, the individuals and families outlined 10 solutions to their housing situation with a primary focus on increasing the number of  affordable housing units in the State so they can transition and leave space for families living on the beach.


Additional Key Findings of the report include:

  • A disproportionate percentage of Native Hawaiians reside in transitional shelters on the Waianae Coast (59% at targeted shelters) than reside in Hawaii (22%) or the Waianae Coast (27%).
  • 9 of 10 unemployed project participants rely on public benefits to prevent homelessness.
  • The average annual pay rate of project participants is $997.45/month, or $12,050.26 annually, which is less than the State's poverty level threshold.
  • Employed project participants would have to work 120 hours per week, or 3 full-time jobs, for 52 weeks to secure and sustain an "affordable" 1-bedroom rental at Fair Market Rent for Honolulu County.
  • 75% of project participants, who authorized Hawaiian Community Assets to pull their credit report, have a credit score that would make them ineligible to qualify for public housing.
  • 95% of project participants, who authorized Hawaiian Community Assets to pull their credit, would be automatically disqualified to simply enter the lottery for a rental unit in an upcoming private, affordable housing development due to insufficient credit and/or income.  

Click Here to view the full-length Annual Project Report. 


To order a full-length Annual Project Report, contact HCA at 1.866.400.1116 or via email at

Call to Action: Individualized Attention and Community Outreach Needed to Address Lease Cancellation 

Blossom Feiteira 


HAWAII - Trying to keep one's head above water in today's economy has been a struggle for thousands of families here in Hawaii.  The long, drawn-out process to cure a mortgage default can increase the frustration and feeling of helplessness that may result in foreclosure.  The loss of a home is a reality for many of us.  To keep a home requires individualized attention and community outreach. 


It is no different for the families currently residing on the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust.


Jardine OhanaHousing Counseling Works 

According to an independent review by the Urban Institute, homeowners who receive National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC), from HUD-approved housing counseling agencies like HCA, are 60% more likely to avoid losing their home to foreclosure than homeowners who do not seek out counseling.   In addition, NFMC counseled clients were more likely to receive a loan modification, and on average, saved $454 more on their monthly mortgage payments than other homeowners who received a modification but did not work with a counselor.


Housing counseling promotes financial education and communication as the vehicles for families to prevent foreclosure.  It allows for certified counselors to conduct a financial assessment to determine the best workout options available to the family and their lender.  Simply put: housing counseling works.  Not only does it work, but it is the pono way for us to resolve our conflicts and ensure the well-being of our families and communities.   


Community Outreach is Key 

For those living on Trust lands, the road to curing a default is oftentimes rocky and impassable.

Hawaiian Home Lands Lessees receive financing to purchase homes primarily through government-backed loans from federal agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD) and the Veteran's Administration (VA).  These loan programs provide a guarantee to the lender in case of default.  In addition, because of the trust status of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust, the State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands are required to provide a guarantee to the respective government agency that the loan will be paid.


It may seem like a great deal all the way around.  For the lenders, maybe.  For the guarantors of the loan, not so much.  And, definitely not for the lessee. 


On average, by the time the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) receives the loan, penalties and interest accrued from the lender on top of the original loan principle can be anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 higher, all of which eventually becomes the burden of the lessee.


We need to ensure that families are informed and educated earlier in the process, especially as loan rescue and refinance scams continue to prey on our kupuna and homeowners on Hawaiian Home Lands.  By reaching out earlier to our struggling homeowners, we can also engage them in asset building services such as free tax preparation.  According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Earned Income Tax Credits represent the largest Federal anti-poverty program, but are the most underutilized.  The IRS estimates that $44 million goes unclaimed in the State of Hawaii every year, while our families with 3 or more children earning less than $50, 000/year are able to qualify for as much as $5,891.

Next Step: Defined Strategy  

Any options available to the lessee at-risk of foreclosure are limited due to the trust status of Hawaiian Home Lands.  Opportunities to "sell" their home in advance are limited due to the restricted market.  Appraised value are governed by Federal law that only allows for replacement costs, thereby impacting a lessee's ability to gain some sort of financial foothold in getting out from under.  All of this leads to one question - What does DHHL do with these families?


To give the Department their due, staff assigned to work with the lessees does make a concerted effort to help the families get back on track and keep the families in their homes.  However, when all else fails, it becomes the responsibility of the Hawaiian Homes Commission to make the final call:  Lease Cancellation.


The Hawaiian Homes Commission is the only body with the authority to cancel a lease.  And, it is the only body that has the authority to adopt any process that can provide for the mitigation of the loss and keep the family in their home.  History clearly shows that the Commission very rarely cancels a lease, and instead opts to provide a lessee with an opportunity to work out some kind of agreement with DHHL that will eventually lead to curing the existing default.

Limited staff, limited funds and too many defaulted loans have resulted in a logjam of leases that have yet to be addressed by DHHL and the Commission.  The end result is that there are families who are waiting for something to come their way, whatever that may be.


For those families looking for help, there is an organization that can assist them in navigating the rough waters.  The journey may be long and rough, but with persistence and a will to succeed,

they will be able to get back on track and have a long and successful life as homeowners.

HCA has long assisted families both on and off Trust lands with addressing their mortgage challenges and are able to help with keeping these families in their homes.  With offices on each island, HCA has the capacity and expertise to provide counseling assistance and services that can help to relieve the emotional and real life financial burdens most families carry in such situations.


The bottom line: We cannot let our families at-risk of lease cancellation suffer in silence - we must have a defined strategy to assist them that promotes individualized attention and community outreach.


Blossom Feiteira is a co-founder of HCA and awardee of the Ford Foundation's Leadership for a Changing World Award for her work in promoting housing as a human right.  Ms. Feiteira works in partnership with HCA to conduct homebuyer education workshops and outreach to increase the home ownership rate among low-income families statewide.  

Are you or is someone you know
at-risk of experiencing foreclosure?


Foreclosure Sign    (808) 587-7886

           Free Help With:
           * Loan modifications
           * Work out plans 
           * Reducing payments
           * Lowering interest rates

Homestead Associations Partner with HCA to Bring Services and Fund Raising Opportunities to Their Communities


AHHA Resource Center
HCA started its partnership in 2008 with the Anahola Hawaiian Homestead Association to deliver services through its community resource center (pictured above).  
In recent months, Hawaiian Homestead Associations in Laiopua, Papakolea, and Waianae have partnered with HCA to open satellite office spaces in their communities with the goal of bringing much needed financial services and products to their families.

"Where you stay should not dictate the services you can receive," says Annie AuHoon, Executive Director of the Sovereign Councils of Hawaiian Home Lands Assembly.  "We mahalo HCA for coming to community as a partner willing to share its financial education and counseling services with our opio and our families so they can reach the dream of home ownership."

Currently, HCA has statewide offices on Oahu, Big Island, Maui, and Kauai.  Through the recent partnerships, HCA now delivers its free services from 7 locations across the state; 5 of which are
on Hawaiian Home Lands.

Fund Raising Opportunities for Homestead Associations
As part of the partnership, HCA is providing all Homestead Associations with unique fund raising opportunities to assist with outreach to enroll qualified Beneficiaries in the organization's free homebuyer education and counseling program.  Qualified Beneficiaries are individuals who:
  1. Are at least 18 years of age
  2. Do NOT currently own a home
  3. Have less than $120,000 in asset wealth

Homestead Associations that come on as partners with HCA will be eligible to receive $5 for each qualified Beneficiary they refer to the organization, once the Beneficiary completes an intake application package and 8-hour home buyer education workshop.  Homestead Association partners may also receive an additional $100 per home buyer workshop they co-host and has at least 10 qualified Beneficiaries in attendance.

"We're excited to work with Homestead communities in outreaching to the next generation of homeowners so we can assist them on their path to home ownership," says HCA Community Services Specialist, Lahela Williams.  "Fund raising should not be frustrating."


The fund raising opportunities are made possible with support from the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement through the Hawaii Family Finance Project.

Homestead Associations interested in partnering with HCA may contact the organization at 808.587.7886, (toll-free) 1.866.400.1116 or via email at


Hawaii Youth Housing Leaders Join HCA 


HAWAII - HCA is proud to welcome 2 new Hawaii Youth Housing Leaders to its team.  The Leaders assist the organization with homebuyer and financial education workshops, client intake, and marketing/public education.  HCA established the Hawaii Youth Housing Leaders Program in 2011 to engage and train the next generation of financial educators and housing counselors so they may prepare future generations to secure and sustain permanent housing.  


Marina L. HeadshotMarina Loew, Community Services Assistant (AmeriCorps VISTA)

Marina Loew joined HCA through AmeriCorps VISTA, a Federal program that provides paid volunteers to help build the capacity of nonprofit organizations nationwide with a goal of fighting poverty.   She currently serves as a Community Services Assistant through the organization's Anahola office, providing support for delivery of housing education and counseling programs with a particular focus on marketing and public education.  Marina graduated from Wells College in Aurora, N.Y., with a degree in Studio Art and has experience as a bakery manager.  When asked about her experience with HCA so far, she says, "My greatest asset would definitely be the Aunties.  They know everything and everyone." 


Emmie T. Headshot Emmie Tangonan, Community Services Intern

Emmie Tangonan was raised in Kaunakakai, Molokai, but has recently relocated to Honolulu to pursue a post-secondary education in the medical field.  Emmie joins HCA as an intern at its Honolulu office fulfilling a graduation requirement for Hawaii Technology Institute's, Office Management Technology Program.  Her desire to serve the rural areas of Molokai motivates her to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to one day return home and provide direct service to her community.  In assisting staff with client intake, financial education workshops, and generating and maintaining a client database, Emmie's diligence and attention to detail has made her another young driving force on the HCA team.  

UHMC Contracts HCA to Serve 150 Students with Financial Education Training  


MAUI - The University of Hawaii Maui College (UHMC) has contracted HCA to deliver financial education workshops for an estimated 150 students at the Kaiao Student Success Center during the  2012 calendar year.  The monthly workshops will utilize the organization's place-based Kahua Waiwai: Building a Foundation of Wealth(c) currciulum to cover topics on how to build savings, create spending plans, open and maintain bank accounts, and understand credit and credit reports.


"We are excited about our new partnership with HCA and the opportunity to provide valuable information to our haumana and their 'ohana through the Financial Literacy Workshops," says Kaiao Student Success Center Facilitator,  Kathy Owara-Takeo.  "These workshops will educate our college students on the importance of making the right choices, not only with their finances, but in life.  Even more exciting is that this partnership has the wonderful possibility to put some families on the path to home ownership."


The partnership adds momentum to HCA's new family financial education delivery model that in recent months has been implemented through workshops with Native Hawaiian-based Public Charter Schools and Early Childhood Education programs.  The model's goal is to promote the sharing of financial knowledge among multiple generations in order to build the economic self-sufficiency of communities statewide.  Early successes of the education model include an increased enrollment in the organization's housing education and counseling programs.