Triple Border
Quarterly Newsletter

Jan 2014 

In This Issue
Free Tax Preparation Available!
Homestead Families Build a Strong Kanehili
We Can Help ~ Keep Your Hale
'I'm here to help my mom save her home'
Renter Education Prepares Families for Hale Makana o Nanakuli
HCA Welcomes New VISTA Program Coordinator
VISTA Secures $120k for Online Ads
Fed Article: Investing in Our Next Generation
Quick Links
Mahalo to Our
Annual Partners
Honsador Logo
SIC Logo
Territorial Logo
Gentry Logo
HawaiiUSA Logo 
 Pro Specialty
2014 Homebuyer
Workshop Schedule 

Kahua Waiwai Homebuyer Ed Cover

Workshops are free to attend
Attendees MUST  first submit a completed client intake packet before workshop registraion
Kapolei - DHHL Hale Ponoi
8:30a - 5:30p 
  • Feb 15th
  • Mar 15th
  • Apr 19th
  • May 17th
  • Jun 21st
  • Jul 19th
  • Aug 16th
  • Sept 20th
  • Oct 18th
  • Nov 15th
  • Dec 20th



Wailuku - Queen Liliuokalani Children's Center
8:30a - 5:30p
  • Feb 22nd
  • Mar 22nd
  • Apr 26th
  • May 17th
  • Jun 28th
  • Jul 19th
  • Aug 23rd
  • Sept 27th
  • Oct 25th
  • Nov 15th
  • Dec 13th
  • TBA
  • TBA
Big Island
Hilo - Hawaii County Office 
8:30a - 5p  
  • Feb 22nd
  • Mar 29th
  • Apr 12th
  • May 31st
  • Jun 28th
  • Jul 19th
  • Aug 30th
  • Sept 27th
  • Oct 25th
  • Nov 22nd
  • Dec 20th




Kauai County Building -

includes 2 part workshop series
5p - 9p 

  • Feb 11th & 13th
  • Mar 11th & 13th
  • Apr 15th & 17th
  • May 13th & 15th
  • Jun 10th & 12th
  • Jul 15th & 17th
  • Aug 12th & 14th
  • Sept 16th & 18th
  • Oct 14th & 16th
  • Nov 18th & 20th
  • Dec 9th & 11th



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





Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA) is a HUD approved housing counseling agency and Native community lending 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 services and products include:  
  • Youth and Family Financial Education
  • Renter Education and Counseling 
  • Pre-Purchase Homebuyer Education and Counseling
  • Post-Purchase Education and Counseling
  • Foreclosure/Lease Cancellation Prevention Services
  • Training and Technical Assistance
  • MATCH Savings (IDAs)
  • Micro-Loans
  • Loan Packaging
Report: 142 Homeless Individuals Use Financial Education to Secure Permanent Housing


WAIANAE - According to HCA's Final Report for its 3-year pilot project to effectively prepare individuals and families for transition out of shelters and into permanent housing, 142 homeless individuals who completed HUD-certified financial literacy/renter education and credit counseling secured permanent housing within 24 months of enrollment. An additional 13 individuals secured housing by moving in with family in Hawaii or on the Continental United States.


 View the full report Here.


The $1.3 million pilot project, funded by the Federal Administration for Native Americans and the State Office of Hawaiian Affairs, targeted homeless families and individuals residing in transitional shelters Ulu Ke Kukui, Ohana Ola o Kahumana, and Kumuhonua on Oahu's Waianae Coast. The project was completed September 30, 2013 and reported serving a total of 382 homeless project participants with support from 11 case managers from the transitional shelter sites.


"For many of these families it was having a team of support that made all the difference.  The group workshops gave them new tools to improve financial situation.  The one on one counseling sessions gave them the space and guidance to practice the tools.  Their case managers made sure that all other barriers to housing were addressed," said HCA Program Director, Desiree Vea.  "But at the end of the day, the families were successful because they applied the skills they learned and worked together with HCA and shelter staff to troubleshoot barriers to permanent housing, while being encouraged by the truth - that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to."


According to Vea, the pilot has been expanded into a statewide demonstration project in which 6 homeless service providers and affordable housing developers are partnering with HCA to integrate HUD-certified financial education and housing counseling into their existing service delivery models on Oahu, Maui, Big Island, and Kauai.  HCA will offer participants match savings accounts and micro-loans to increase savings and improve credit so they are financially qualified to secure affordable, permanent housing.


The goal of the statewide demonstration project is to assist 100 homeless individuals and families secure permanent housing by the end of 2015, finished Vea.


Additional findings of the Final Project Report included the following:

  • A disproportionate percentage of Native Hawaiians reside in transitional shelters on the Waianae Coast (54% at targeted shelters) than reside in Hawaii (22%).

  • Native Hawaiian project participants reported an alarming unemployment rate of 56%; highest among all demographics served.

  • 6 out of 10 unemployed project participants relied on public benefits to prevent homelessness.

  • 100% of homeless individuals who successfully graduated from Hawaiian Community Assets' Renters MATCH Savings Account secured rental housing within 21 months of enrollment.

  • 88% of homeless individuals who successfully graduated from Hawaiian Community Assets' Credit Builder Micro-Loan product secured rental housing within 12 months of enrollment.

  • A total of 78 Native Hawaiian project participants secured rental housing during the 3-year project, providing stable housing for 149 homeless Native Hawaiian children and adults. 



Homeless Families Support Raising the Minimum Wage as Solution to Housing Barrier


WAIANAE - During focus groups in the 3rd and final year of HCA's shelter project, homeless individuals and families voiced their support for raising the minimum wage as a possible solution to overcome income as a housing barrier.


According the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the 2014 fair market rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Honolulu County is $1,382. A Hawaii worker earning the State's minimum wage ($7.25/hour) would have to work 47.65 hours per week to pay for rent alone, leaving $0 left over for food, health care, or other necessities.


 One couple from the Kumuhonua Transitional Shelter shared their story of trying to live on minimum wage during a focus group facilitated by HCA in September 2013. They used to work during the day and live in their truck at night - unable to pay for a rental. Fortunately, they were able to secure a room that became open at the shelter so they could save money while they search for affordable rental housing.


Additional solutions to homelessness identified by project participants included prioritizing puiblic housing for disabled and elderly individuals, increasing investments in Section 8 and affordable rental housing for very-low income residents, and "on-the-job" training programs with businesses and social service agencies to promote career development.



Formerly Homeless Man Establishes Long-Term Retirement Savings Plan


John V. first enrolled in HCA's financial literacy/renter education program in 2011 while residing on Kumuhonua Transitional Shelter.  During enrollment, he completed a financial literacy/renter education workshop series and individualized counseling to develop an affordable household budget and action plan to build savings.


Within 18 months, he had increased his savings by $8,300, paid off all of his debt ($5,358), and improved his credit score from 627 to 641.  In 2013, John V. secured rental housing without financial assistance.


When asked if he would like to enroll in the organization's Homebuyer Education Program, John V. opted for individualized counseling to establish a long-term retirement savings plan.  Together, with his HUD-certified counselor, Rose Transfiguracion, John V. established a plan to save an additional $27,700 in 7 years to supplement his income from social security and wages.  Starting in 2020, the plan will effectively increase John V's monthly income by an estimated $408 making it easier for him to sustain permanent housing.


"My experience with HCA was very positive.  It was great learning how to budget and save money," said John V., who reported in January 2014 that he had saved $12,000 toward his long-term savings plan.  "My counselor went out of her way to get me back on track and start planning for my future."







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Or in-person at a VITA Site Near You.




Homestead Families Build a Strong Kanehili with Help from HCA, Partners



KANEHILI, HI - In the Kanehili Hawaiian Homestead, where the corners of Kaapunwai Place and Kumaaiu Street meet, 10 families share a dream they worked hard for and in 2013 came true - homeownership.


Besides being new homeowners together, the families shared the long journey it took to get there.


After being awarded their leases during lot selection with the State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), the families enrolled in free Homebuyer Education with HUD-certified housing counseling agency, Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA). Together, the families completed over 100 hours of homebuyer education and individualized per-purchase counseling before successfully purchasing their homes.


Following home purchase, each Beneficiary family received individualized post-purchase counseling to create an updated homeowner budget and action plan on how to establish a home maintenance fund and prevent foreclosure.


 "We would not have gone that far (to homeownership) without HCA," said Beneficiary homeowners, Barbara and Robert Matias (pictured right with counselor and fellow homesteader, Rose Transfiguracion)."HCA helped us step it up. Rose assisted with our credit, our loan application, and a plan to keep our home."


During enrollment in HCA's Homebuyer Education Program, the families collectively saved $100,722 toward the goal of homeownership and received $318,940 in grants for down payment and closing costs. The grant funds were provided through the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement's Hawaii Family Finance Project, the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program, and Gentry Hawaii's Sellers Credit Program.


"It is always exciting to see Beneficiary families work hard to acheive their dream. They're building a strong Kanehili, together!" said HCA Executive Director, Jeff Gilbreath.


Beneficiary families and Successors interested in enrolling in HCA's free Homebuyer Education Program should contact the organization at 1.866.400.1116 (toll-free) or via email at

Have you or your family received a lease cancellation notice from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands?
Tell Your Ohana ~ We Can Help
Keep Your Hale
Call Us
Our HUD-certified housing counselors provide FREE help with:
  • HandsFinancial and Budget Counseling
  • Loan Workout Plans
  • Representation at Contested Case Hearings
  • Communicating with DHHL
  • Preparing Your Successor to Become a Homeowner

'I'm Here to Help My Mom Save Her Home'; Successor Joins Beneficiary to Sustain Homeownership 


HAWAII- In January, a Successor came in front of the 9-member Hawaiian Homes Commisson to agree to help his elderly mother, and Beneficiary of their lease award, to make monthly mortage payments to the State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.


"I'm here to help my mom save her home," the Successor said to the Commissioners who

approved a resolution to stop lease cancellation and allow for the family to stay in their home.


The mother had been enrolled in HCA's Foreclosure Prevention Program since January 2013, first coming to HCA after struggling to make her monthly mortgage payments on her fixed social security income.  Through the program, HCA counselors helped the family establish an affordable household budget, create an action plan, and acces a micro-loan from HCA to pay down existing debt so they could afford their monthly mortgage payment.


Since October 2012, HCA staff has assisted 16 native Hawaiian Beneficiary families secure resolutions to prevent lease cancellation. On average, families who secure temporary workout plans have reduced their mortgage payment to the State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands by $240 per month.  Recently, more Successors have been coming to the Hawaiian Homes Commission to assist Beneficiaries keep their homes.


"As Successors we have a responsibility to carry on the legacy of homeownership passed down by our kupuna," said HCA Beneficiary Advocate, Kahaunani Mahoe-Thoene who is a 4th generation homesteader in Waimanalo and received her family home through successorship in 2007. "It is exciting to see the whole ohana work together to keep homes that they worked so hard to get in the first place."


As a Beneficiary Advocate, Mahoe-Thoene goes with families in front of the Hawaiian Homes Commission to tell their story and identify practical solutions to help prevent lease cancellation. She also conducts talk story sessions in Homestead communities to build public awareness about HCA's free financial education and housing counseling services for native Hawaiian children and families.


For more information or to request a talk story session for your community, contact Ms. Mahoe-Thoene at 808.587.7655 or via email at


Renter Education Program Prepares 21 Families for Housing at Hale Makana o Nanakuli


NANAKULI - Since October 2013, HCA has enrolled 21 families in its free, HUD-certified renter education and counseling program. The families are potential residents of Hale Makana o Nanakuli, a first-of-its-kind affordable rental housing development on Hawaiian Home Lands where the Beneficiaries of the Nanakuli Homestead led and managed the project with support from the Hawaiian Community Development Board.


"We are humbled to a part of such a unique project that was a vision and now a reality of Hawaiian Home Lands Beneficiaries themselves," shared HCA Executive Director, Jeff Gilbreath. "The Beneficiaries' hard work and success clearly shows that community has the capacity to build solutions to their housing needs when provided the support and opportunity to do so."


Through a partnership with HCA, the 21 families must complete the workshops and counseling to become eligible for Renters MATCH Savings Accounts, an asset building product established by HCA in 2011 which provides low-income Native Hawaiians with a 4:1 match on savings up to $500 for a total of $2,500 toward rent/utility deposits and rent payments. The Renters MATCH money was provided by the State Office of Hawaiian Affairs through a grant made to HCA in July 2013.


During renter education workshops, HCA Trainer, Lahela Williams, covers a variety of topics to assist the families become financially qualified renters. The topics include traditional and modern Hawaii economics, actions to strengthen our local economy, budgeting and saving, banking, understanding and using credit, the Hawaii landlord-tenant code, and the pre-rental preparation process. Individualized counseling allows for the families to develop budgets, review their credit, and create an action plan for securing and sustaining their rental apartment.


"The families are all very enthusiastic. It's an honor to be able to assist them in taking the next step toward securing rental housing," said Williams, a Hawaiian Home Lands Successor having been born and raised in the Kewalo Homestead community. "My greatest appreciation has come from helping our kupuna, so they have a place of their own where they can be comfortable and can rest assured that their housing will be affordable, now and in the future."


For more information about HCA's renter education and counseling program, contact 1.866.400.1116 (toll-free) or email

HCA Hires New VISTA Program Coordinator 



HCA recently hired Helene Edelstein to serve as Program Coordinator for the organization's growing AmeriCorps VISTA Program.


Helene joins HCA looking forward to getting to know the 14 VISTAs the organization has placed across the state.  She has committed herself to working in the third sector since serving as an AmeriCorps member with schools in San Diego, CA and Salt Lake City, UT.  Helene holds a Master's of Science Degree in Community Economic Development form Southern New Hampshire University, where she was a Gould scholarship recipient.  She also received her Bachelor's of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego.  Her passions and interests include social justice, art, farming, hiking, and life long learning.


For more information about HCA's AmeriCorps VISTA Program, please contact Ms. Edelstein at 808.587.7652 or via email at

VISTA Member Secures $120k Google Grant to Promote HUD-Certified Financial Education & Counseling 


HAWAII - December 2014, HCA AmeriCorps VISTA member, John Malone successfully wrote and secured a $120,000 Google AdGrant to promote the organization's free, HUD-certified financial and housing education programs.


Malone submitted an application for the grant as part of a larger marketing challenge between all HCA VISTA members, geared at fostering outside-the-box strategies for informing low-income Hawaii families about the organization's services.


"The goal for me from the very start of our marketing challenge was simple - how can we get the word out and touch every Hawaiian that is in need of our services?" said HCA VISTA Member, John Malone.  "I believe having the ability to communicate our mission through Google AdGrants allows HCA to move closer to that goal."


With the grant funds, HCA will receive $10,000 of online Google advertising per month through December 2014.  Currently, if Hawaii residents search Google for "Hawaiian Home Lands", HCA's link appears providing individuals and families the opportunity to start on their journey to purhcase homes and sustain homeownership.


In 1999, Blossom Feiteira and Kehaulani Filimoeatu met after both waiting for years to claim their lease awards on Hawaiian Home Lands, only to be denied.  Feiteira had been fighting homelessness with her family, living on the beach and out of her car, while Filimoeatu was working with the Maui Police Department and in her free time, organizing her community to help get Hawaiians back to the land.  With no credit, no savings, and too much debt, the mortgage lending instituions involved were told the two women they were not financially qualified to secure their awards.


That same year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development produced its first Housing Problems and Needs of Native Hawaiians Study analyzing the housing and economic disparities experienced by Native Hawaiian families residing in Hawaii.  The study found that 49 percent of Native Hawaiians had housing problems, the highest percentange of any group in the United States.  Per capita income for Native Hawaiians was $10,600, relative to $16,000 for non-Natives, and the unemployement rate for Native Hawaiians was twice that of non-Native in the state.  Already limited homeownership opportunities for Native Hawaiians decreased event further due to rapid increases in housing costs, and 2,300 Native Hawaiians were homeless, constituting 30 percent of the state's total homeless popultion.


Feiteira and Filimoeatu were living, breathing examples of these numbers.


The difficulties native Hawaiians face in securing leases in their own communities persists despite efforts to establish dedicated lease opportunities.  The Hawaiian Home Lands include 203,000 acres of land across Hawaii...


Continue reading here...Investing in Our Next Generation: A Native Hawaiian Model for Economic Self-Sufficiency.