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Hawaiian Community Assets Newsletter
Quarterly Newsletter

Feb 2016 

In This Issue
$5,000 in Grants & Loans Available!
Position Available: Kauai Financial Trainer
HCA Opens Financial Opportunity Center in Keaukaha
Success Story: James & Ruth Bird Fight Foreclosure...& Win
Report: Kahua Waiwai Financial Capability Project
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Pro Specialty
2016 Homebuyer Education
Workshop Schedule 
Kahua Waiwai Homebuyer Ed Cover  
Workshops are free to attend
Attendees MUST  first submit a completed client intake packet before workshop registration

Kapolei - DHHL Hale Ponoi
8:30a - 5:30p 
  • Feb 13th
  • Mar 19th
  • Apr 16th
  • May 21st
Hawaii Island
Hilo - Hawaii County Office 
8:30a - 5p  
  • Feb 20th
  • Mar 26th
  • Apr 30th
  • May 28th


Lihue - Kauai County Building -
includes 2 part workshop series
5p - 9p 
  • Mar 8th & 9th
  • Apr 5th & 7th
  • May 10th & 12th


For more information or to register for a workshop in your community, contact HCA at 1.866.400.1116
2016 Financial Education Workshop Schedule 
Kahua Waiwai Cover   
Workshops are free to attend
Attendees MUST  first submit a completed client intake packet before workshop registration

Nanakuli - Hale Makana
8:30a - 5:30p 
  • Feb 11th, 4-8p
  • Mar 10th, 9a-1p
  • Apr 14th, 4-8p
  • May 12th, 9a-1p
Honolulu - HCA Office
  • Feb 19th, 9a-1p
  • Mar 18th, 9a-1p
  • Apr 22nd, 9a-1p
  • May 18th, 9a-1p

Hawaii Island
Hilo - HCA Office
  • Feb 13th, 8:30a-12:30p
  • Mar 12th, 8:30a-12:30p
  • Apr 9th, 8:30a-12:30p
  • May 14th, 8:30a-12:30p
Hilo - Hawaii County Building
  • Mar 5th, 8:30a-12:30p
  • Apr 2nd, 8:30a-12:30p
  • May 7th, 8:30a-12:30p
Pahoa - Neighborhood Place Puna
  • Apr 12th, 8:30a-12:30p
Kona - Ulu Wini
  • Feb 18th, 5-9p
  • Mar 17th, 5-9p
  • Apr 21st, 5-9p
  • May 19th, 5-9p
Kona - West Hawaii Civic Center
  • Feb 27th, 8:30a-12:30p
  • Mar 19th, 8:30a-12:30p
  • Apr 23rd, 8:30a-12:30p
  • May 21st, 8:30a-12:30p
Kona - Laiopua 2020
  • Mar 8th, 5-9p
  • Apr 12th, 5-9p
  • May 10th, 5-9p

For more information or to register for a workshop in your community, contact HCA at 1.866.400.1116
Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA) is a nonprofit HUD-certified housing counseling agency with a mission 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 owns Hawaii Community Lending, a nonprofit, Native community development financial institution (CDFI) that increases access to capital for Native Hawaiians residing in Hawaii.
HCA offers this quarterly newsletter to provide you with updated information on current development services and financial products: 
  • 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


Local Renter Education Program Assists 736 Homeless Children and Adults Secure Permanent Housing Since 2010

HAWAII - Last week, HUD-approved housing counseling agency, Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA), reported the success of its Renter Education Program since its launch in 2010 in response to the rising homeless rates sparked during the Great Recession.

Over the last 5 years, HCA has served 789 homeless families with renter/financial education, individualized housing counseling, and match savings and micro-loans.

The result?

736 homeless children and adults in permanent housing.

"It works!" said HCA Executive Director, Jeff Gilbreath, citing the program's comprehensive approach to helping homeless families become financially qualified to rent homes.  "As the broader discussion about affordable housing stock continues, our renter education program empowers our local families with the financial life skills and tools necessary to become successful renters, now, and remain so in the future."


100% of homeless families who have graduated from the HCA MATCH Savings Account have secured permanent housing within 21 months of enrollment.


While the fair market monthly rent for a 2-bedroom apartment on the island of Oahu is $1,985, a critical tool has helped homeless families overcome the high initial costs of securing rental housing in Hawaii's high-priced rental market: HCA's MATCH Savings Account.

Created in 2010 with funding from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, HCA uses the MATCH Savings Account to incentivize homeless Native Hawaiian families to save for first month's rent and deposit.  Families who complete renter education and counseling are eligible to receive matching funds of $2 for every $1 they save up to $1,000 for a total of $3,000 for rent and deposits.  According to Gilbreath, MATCH funding is currently only available to Native Hawaiians and the organization is seeking additional funds to expand the MATCH Savings Account to non-Native Hawaiians.

To date, 159 homeless families have successfully graduated from the product and received $217,062 in funds that have been paid directly to their landlords for rent and deposits.

Overall, 100% of homeless families who have graduated from the MATCH Savings Account since 2010 have secured permanent housing within 21 months of enrollment.

"It is not feasible to ask a landlord to rent a home to any person simply out of the goodness of their heart when the landlord has a bottom line to protect," shared Gilbreath when asked about local landlords' reaction to the MATCH Savings Account.  "Our clients come to the landlord with at least 6 hours of intensive, HUD-approved education and counseling, a family budget, a plan to address issues on their credit report, and savings in the bank with the promise of MATCH funds up to $2,000.  Instantly, we see landlords' consideration of our clients change, because now they understand they have a financially qualified renter in front of them with the skills and tools to sustain monthly payments and cash flow for the property."

Another promising aspect of HCA' renter education program is  Hawaii Tenant Referral Services, a social enterprise the organization started up last year to connect homeless individuals and families who have completed HCA's renter education program with private landlords, affordable housing projects, and property management companies as a means to streamline placement and reduce costs on landlords.  Through the program, landlords agree to waive application fees and accept HCA's tri-merge credit report instead of incurring those costs themselves.  In exchange, HCA provides property listings to its renter education program clients and equips clients with a cover letter, financial assessment, and copy of their credit report for their application to the rental properties.

In the last 12 months, 2 landlords have come onboard to utilize Hawaii Tenant Referral Services which has resulted in 41 homeless families securing and sustaining rental housing.  While HCA plans to require a placement fee from landlords in the future, the Hawaii Tenant Referral Services program is currently available at no-cost to both renters and landlords.

For more information about HCA's renter education program, MATCH Savings Accounts, or Hawaii Tenant Referral Services, contact HCA's office at 808.587.7886 or email

MATCH Savings Grants &  Micro-Loans Up to $5,000 Available to Native Hawaiians!
HCA is offering up to $5,000 in MATCH Savings grants and micro-loans to low- and moderate-income Native Hawaiians to assist with renting or owning a home.
  • MATCH Savings Accounts: 2:1 match on savings up to $1,000 for a total of $2,000 for housing-related expenses
  • Micro-Loans: Up to $5,000 to pay off payday loans and collections, reduce debt, and build credit
  Call Today to Enroll!
HCA Main LogoHCL logo
Kauai Financial Trainer Position Available

Deliver Financial Education Workshops in Your Community!
Contact Lahela Williams at 808.587.7660 or email

HCA Opens Financial Opportunity Center in Keaukaha

HILO, HI - HCA celebrated the opening of their new office, located at 1315 Kalanianaole Avenue in Keaukaha, on Saturday, February 6th.
Joined by partners, clients, funders, and the local community, the celebration highlighted HCA's commitment to serving Hawaii Island families with financial education and housing counseling.  The event offered a true family atmosphere for all who were in attendance with food, refreshments, and live music by Keaukaha musicians.
"When you come to Hawaiian Community Assets, it feels like Ohana," shared James Bird, an HCA client who prevented foreclosure through organization's homeowner program (pictured right with his wife Ruth, and HCA Executive Director, Jeff Gilbreath). "This new office makes me feels like I'm coming home."
The office was announced as the first rural Financial Opportunity Center west of the Mississippi River.  The Center, in partnership with local providers, will offer career and small business training, financial education and counseling, and access to public benefits, free tax preparation, loans, and grants.
"The vision of this Center is to be a community gathering place where our families can share and learn from one another," said HCA Island Manager, Kelly Lincoln (pictured above with HCA Executive Director, Jeff Gilbreath). "We want to mahalo the County of Hawaii, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Aha Punanaleo, and Rural Local Initiative Support Corporation for their support in making the Financial Opportunity Center a reality."
According to Lincoln, HCA plans to serve 450 local families through the Center in the next year.
The Center has open office space available to service providers for rent. Organizations interested in renting space or for more information about HCA programs, contact Ms. Lincoln at 808.934.0801 or via email at

James and Ruth Bird Fight Foreclosure...and Win
By Andrew Dupio

James and Ruth Bird pictured above with HCA Executive Director, Jeff Gilbreath, celebrating the opening of HCA's new Keaukaha office and the Bird's success in saving their home from foreclosure.
James Bird's homeownership journey started when he was 40 years old happily married to his beautiful wife Ruth.  Talking with James, he remembers wanting to have his own place ever since growing up watching his parents work hard, getting their education, and finally buying a home.  As a kid he was determined to do the same - homeownership was always his goal.
At age 40, James made a promise to his wife Ruth that he would get them a house of their own, not knowing that later on financial struggles would have him apologizing to her for the hardship it would cause.
Determined to own a home, James and Ruth went to the County of Hawaii Housing Office to apply for a loan through the Residential Emergency Repair Program.  The Birds needed to make repairs on an existing home they wanted to buy but was devastated by a recent storm.  Making good money as a union construction workers, James made the decision to sign for the $24,000, 15-year loan.
As time passed by James started losing hours at work and the struggle for money to make ends meet became real, and later, would almost cost them their house. When the 15 year loan became due, James, now retired on social security income, was unable to pay the one-time lump sum required by the program.  The County of Hawaii issued him a foreclosure notice - and could have stopped working with him at that point - but instead County employee Brandi Ah Yo advised him to go see Kelly Lincoln at Hawaiian Community Assets.
James had never heard of Hawaiian Community Assets, but was willing to try anything to keep the home for him and his wife.  He went to the organization's Hilo office right away and completed a client intake packet.  Over the next 18 months, James would complete a 4-hour financial education workshop which helped him establish a budget and understand his credit.  During counseling sessions, Kelly and James would work together to create a plan to save his home.  Kelly helped James realize that he couldn't keep giving all his money away to his family just because they asked for it.  He would need to save money if he would have any chance of saving his home.
James took action, doing as Kelly advised, because he was determined to save the house for him, Ruth, and his grandchildren.
"Kelly's plan was perfect. We just had to follow her directions," James recalled. "She walked us through the whole process showing us exactly what to do, how to get out of foreclosure, and now here we are today, proud homeowners!"
On February 1, 2016, after a stressful and long journey to sustaining homeownership, James and Ruth went to the County of Hawaii with Kelly and paid off their loan with $5,200 in personal savings, $4,000 in match grant funds from HCA, and a $14,000 Housing Assistance Loan through Hawaii Community Lending, HCA's Native Community Development Financial Institution.
On that day, James and Ruth felt like the dark cloud that was hanging over their head for years had finally lifted.
"If anyone is struggling to become a homeowner or keep their home, they should definitely go to Kelly," encouraged James. "Her class and counseling opens doors to all sorts of possibilities and helped me cut out all of my foolish spending.  After going through this whole process over the years, struggling to get out of debt, get out of foreclosure and to make ends meet with the help of Kelly and HCA, all I can say is, " "Thank God I came to Hawaiian Community Assets!"
Grateful for the assistance he received from the County of Hawaii and Hawaiian Community Assets, James says he's looking into becoming a grant writer so he can give back to the community.
James and Ruth Bird continue to live happily in their home in Volcano with their three daughters, two granddaughters, and two great granddaughters.  James' goal for his young grandchildren is for them to get a college education and get into business so they are better off financially and have a better life than him.
And he has one word of advice for his moopuna (grandchildren) - "Save Money!".
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Bird!  You've earned it!

Kahua Waiwai Financial Capability Project Shows Success in Serving Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

HAWAII - HCA released its final report for the Kahua Waiwai Financial Capability Project, a project funded by the California-based Rose Foundation to increase the financial literacy of 500 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Hawaii.
According to the report, HCA implemented a culturally-relevant financial capability service model that included group financial education workshops, client intake, financial coaching, and match savings and micro-loans with the goal of increasing financial capabilities and long-term economic self-sufficiency of Hawaii's Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
Within 12 months, HCA served 646 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders through the project with group financial education workshops.
377 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders engaged in financial coaching with the organization's Financial Coaches.  On average, project participants who completed at least 6 hours of Kahua Waiwai Financial Education and coaching increased their income by $94, savings by $554, and improved their credit score by 85 points in just 12 months.

Average Increase in Annual Household Income


Average Increase
 in Savings




Average Increase in Credit Scores


85 points


By the end of the project, 82 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander families who completed financial coaching secured financial and housing goals ranging from homeownership to post-secondary education to small business development.
For more information about HCA's Kahua Waiwai Financial Education program contact Rosalee Puaoi at 808.587.7667 or via email at
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