Homestead Leaders Hold Roundtable with Lieutenant Governor

April 25, 2019, 8:37 AM HST · Updated April 25, 8:37 AM
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The leadership team of the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations held a roundtable with Lieutenant Governor Josh Green on April 23, 2019 at the State Capitol.

Lieutenant Governor Josh Green asked Hawaiian homeland leaders to identify two sites per island where his office and homestead associations can collaborate to build kauhale, or transitional group homes and affordable rentals.

Upcountry homesteader Kekoa Enomoto was among those who participated in the discussion. Enomoto is chairwoman of the board of the two year old Maui-based nonprofit Pāʻupena Community Development Corp. that serves homeland beneficiaries.

The mission of Pāʻupena CDC is to provide resources and training to empower fellow Hawaiian Homes trust beneficiaries to build homes and self-sufficient agricultural and ranching communities.

Roundtable participants.  PC: Hawaiʻi Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

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Robin Puanani Danner, SCHHA Chairman said, “This roundtable was extremely productive, laying out the projects and programs already being operated by homestead associations, and sharing our vision for where we are headed as homestead leaders.”

At the 2018 SCHHA Homestead Summit, member leaders had re-emphasized the need for rental and transitional housing, as well as supporting small family farms on homesteads.

“It is clear from this gathering, homestead associations and their leaders are critical partners, with community development know how and an expertise in their land trust,” said Lieutenant Governor Green.  “It’s incredible, the work they are already doing, and the projects they are pursuing, that serve both the beneficiary class of the Hawaiian Home Land Trust, and the larger population in Hawaiʻi.  I am committed to greater partnerships with homestead associations to achieve greater progress.”

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SCHHA leaders shared the homestead Workforce Rental & Transitional Housing project concept intended to be piloted on Kauaʻi, then replicated in 3 other homestead areas around the state serving low to moderate income Hawaiians.

“Many of our priorities overlap what we see the Lieutenant Governor is focused on.  Wefound a lot of synergy, especially in the areas of kauhale or transitional group homes and affordable rentals,” said Kekoa Enomoto, a SCHHA leader from Waiohuli, Maui.  “It was the perfect time to meet with him, I think most people are surprised at the level of capacity our homestead organizations have, and just how much value we can bring to the challenges in our own communities.”

The Board chair of the SCHHA’s nonprofit arm, the Homestead Housing Authority also attended the roundtable, “Our nonprofit work is so foundational to homestead success,” said Iwalani McBrayer, HHA Chair, a homesteader from Kaupea on Oʻahu.  “We have built community facilities, single family homes, and this summer we are launching a loan fund for farming and ranching, plus a service program to help families build Tiny Homes and help DHHL reduce lease cancellations.”

The substantive roundtable discussion was hailed as an unprecedented meeting between a Lieutenant Governor and homestead leaders to identify areas to partner and maintain consistent communication.

SCHHA, founded in 1987, is the oldest and largest coalition of self-governing homestead associations in the State.  Its members are located on Kauaʻ, Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island.

The Tuesday roundtable included Harold Johnson (pictured from left) of Papakolea homestead; Rolina Faagai, Kauaʻi next-gen (next generation) leader; SCHHA Chairman Robin Puanani Danner; Hawaiian Homes Commissioner Mike Kahikina of Nanakuli, Oʻahu; Lt. Gov. Green; Liberta Albao, Kauaʻi waitlist leader; Kauaʻi next-gen leader Kahea Kolo; Iwalani McBrayer, president of Kaupeʻa, Oʻahu, homestead association; Kekoa Enomoto of Waiohuli, Maui, homestead, and Kauaʻi next-gen leader Garrett Danner.

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