Hawaiian Community Assets

Nonprofits Partner to Increase Access to Affordable Housing for Low-Income Hawaii Families

June 5, 2013




HAWAII - HUD housing counseling agency and Native community lending institution, Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA), has joined with 5 nonprofit partners from across the state to announce the launch of the 2-year Building Stability in Housing Project.


The Project's goal is to increase placement of impoverished individuals and families into permanent, affordable housing by establishing a statewide continuum of service that bridges homeless services, family financial education, housing counseling, asset building, and job/career training programs. In particular, the Project will:

  • Deliver targeted HUD approved housing counseling and financial education services to 500 youth and families residing in low-income communities statewide;
  • Deploy $200,000 in grant matching funds to 100 homeless Native Hawaiian Project participants for first month's rent and utilities in order to secure rental housing, and;
  • Train and dispatch 14 AmeriCorps VISTA members to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations to deliver financial education services and job/career training to underserved communities.

HCA will administer the project, including delivery of HUD housing counseling and financial education services and providing grant funds to homeless Native Hawaiian participants through its existing Renters MATCH Savings Account product. The following nonprofit partners will receive training/technical assistance from HCA as well as AmeriCorps VISTA members to build their capacity to serve low-income families in their communities:

  • Alternative Structures International
  • Waianae Community Outreach
  • HOPE Services Hawaii
  • Catholic Charities Kauai
  • Sustainable Molokai

"The Building Stability in Housing Project is an exciting opportunity to bring community together around a shared commitment to our families most in-need; that we will provide for them the appropriate financial services and products necessary to overcome barriers to affordable housing," said HCA Executive Director, Jeff Gilbreath. "We mahalo the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for their investment in the Project and honor the nonprofit service providers from across the state that are committed to walk hand-in-hand with us on this endeavor."


OHA recently invested $250,000 into the Project, awarding HCA the funds to provide 100 eligible project participants with Renters MATCH Savings Accounts that will offer a 4:1 match on participant savings up to $500 for a total of $2,500 for first month's rent and utilities. In August 2010, OHA had provided an initial investment of $75,000 into HCA's Renters MATCH Savings Account product, which has resulted in a 138% return on investment and assisted 15 Native Hawaiian families living in transitional shelters secure affordable rental housing within 12 months of enrollment in the product.


Another key component of the Project includes the training and dispatching of 14 AmeriCorps VISTA members within HCA and its nonprofit partners. The AmeriCorps VISTA Program, Volunteers in Service to America, started in 1965 as a national service program designed specifically to fight poverty in America. Today, thousands of VISTA members are dispatched to nonprofit organizations across the nation helping build programs and capacity to serve impoverished communities with a range of services addressing economic, health, housing, and education disparities.


On May 20th and 21st the Project welcomed two new AmeriCorps VISTA Site Supervisors, Emillia Noordoek from Sustainable Molokai and Katherine Nawahine from HOPE Services Hawaii located on the island of Hawaii. Sustainable Molokai will work with their VISTA to create models for financial education and asset building that encourage entrepreneurship in collaboration with community partners on Molokai. HOPE Services Hawaii will use their VISTA to develop a program that focuses on employment preparation, job placement, job support and retention for families served through their organization.


From now to June 14th, HCA and its Partners will be recruiting for the AmeriCorps VISTA positions within the Building Stability in Housing Project. For more information or to apply for an AmeriCorps VISTA position, please visit: AmeriCorps VISTA site.


For more information about the Building Stability in Housing Project, please contact HCA Program Director, Desiree Vea, at 990.1456 or via email at desiree@hawaiiancommunity.net.