Hawaiian Community Assets

Young Native Hawaiian Leader Appointed to National CAPACD Board

December 17, 2013




DesireeYoung Native Hawaiian leader and HCA Program Director, Desiree Vea (right), was appointed in December to serve as a member on the National CAPACD Board.


National CAPACD (Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development) was established in 1999 as the first national advocacy organization dedicated to addressing the housing, community and economic development needs of diverse and growing Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.  Founded by community practitioners, National CAPACD has a member-base network that includes more than 100 community-based organizations and individuals, including community development corporations, preservation agencies, community-based social service providers, advocacy agencies, as well as national intermediaries and financial institutions.  Its members are located in 17 states, implementing innovative affordable housing, community development and community organizing strategies to improve the well-being of low-income AAPIs.


"I'm humbled by the appointment and understand my responsibility to serve as a strong voice for Native Hawaiian issues at the national level," shared Vea.  "There exists a lack of data accurately representing our Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, because we are often grouped with one another or within larger ethnic populations.  In my capacity as a member of a national Board, I will bring our unique stories to the table in partnership with National CAPACD and its broad-based coalition, in order to represent the true, on-the-ground economic and community development needs of our Native Hawaiian families and Pacific Island brothers and sisters as a means to affect larger systemic change."


Born and raised on the island of Kauai, Ms. Vea graduated from Wells College with a Bachelors of Arts in International Studies with a focus on policy and finished her Korean Language and Literature focus at Cornell University.  She began her non-profit work in funding development and first joined HCA in 2010 to assist with establishing a renter education and counseling program in transitional shelters on the Leeward Coast of Oahu.  Ms. Vea currently manages HCA's AmeriCorps VISTA and Renter Education Programs, provides families with housing and financial education services, and offers training and technical assistance to organization partners for the delivery of Kahua Waiwai Financial Education.  She also assists with establishing and implementing organizational policies and procedures to maintain HCA's compliance as a HUD-certified housing counseling agency and Native Community Development Financial Institution.  She is certified by NeighborWorks America as an Asset Management Specialist and Housing Counselor and Trainer.  Recognized as a White House Champion of Change for her work creating avenues for transitioning homeless individuals to voice their concerns to their state representatives, Ms. Vea continues to be active in policy work at the local, state, and national levels and is a firm believer in grassroots organizing.