Mayor encourages HUD recipients to apply for federally-funded homeownership program

July 9, 2010, 8:12 PM HST · Updated July 9, 8:12 PM
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Mayor Charmaine Tavares Encourages HUD Recipients to Apply for

Homeownership Option Program

Mayor Charmaine Tavares issued a reminder today to those who receive Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Rental Assistance payments, to consider applying for the federally-funded Homeownership Option Program (HOP).  Only two recipients took advantage of the program to date, which is administered by the County of Maui’s Department of Housing and Human Concerns.

New homeowners Sandra Hapakuka-Lono and Donovan Lono are among the few to apply and benefit from a federallly-funded homeownership program available for Maui residents. Photo courtesy County of Maui.

Through the HOP program, HUD Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Rental Assistance payments are converted into mortgage payments and provide an opportunity for homeownership to low-income families.

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The first recipient, Ewalani Shim, became a beneficiary in December
2009. Shim’s home in Department of Hawaiian Homeland’s Waiehu Kou subdivision was built with the assistance of Habitat for Humanity.

The second recipient, Sandra Hapakuka-Lono and her husband Donovan, moved into their newly purchased home last month, also in DHHL’s Waiehu Kou subdivision. The Lono’s three-bedroom, two-bath house was purchased for $85,000 under a 99-year DHHL Hawaiian Homestead lease. The family received additional support from Habitat for Humanity.

To qualify for the County’s HOP program, applicants must be receiving
rental subsidy payments through the federal-funded HUD voucher program, be first-time home buyers and meet minimum income and work requirements.

“Homeownership is a dream for many of our families,” said Mayor Tavares.

“This program can help make that dream a reality. Ewalani Shim and Mr. and Mrs. Sandra and Donovan Lono took advantage of what’s available, worked hard and asked for help from family and friends, and today both families are enjoying homes they have purchased. I want to encourage others to do the same.”

“It’s been a long haul, but it was worth it,” said Sandra Hapakuka-Lono. “Our home is a place to appreciate the good things that happen when you work hard for something and have support from family and the people around you.

For more information on the Homeownership Option Program, contact the County of Maui Housing Division, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, at 270-7751.

BACKGROUND ON THE HOMEOWNERSHIP OPTION PROGRAM (HOP)

● To facilitate the HOP application process, Housing Division staff held informational workshops in late October throughout Maui County. All of Maui County’s 1,360 Housing Choice Voucher Program participants were invited to the workshops.

● To qualify for HOP, applicants must be participating in Maui’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, be a first-time home buyer, meet minimum income and work requirements, and have the financial means to pay down payment and closing costs.

● Applicants must be in compliance with the terms of their lease and the rules of the Housing Choice Voucher program, and must not have any outstanding balances owed to the County of Maui.

● Each participant must be able to qualify for a mortgage loan and locate an affordable property to purchase.

● To qualify for a home loan, participants should have a very good credit history and a stable income for approximately two years.

● Anyone interested in HOP is strongly encouraged to start preparing now to meet loan qualification requirements or consult with a mortgage-lending institution to learn what possibilities exist for them to obtain a home mortgage loan.

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