Hawai‘i Community Lending announced grant awards totaling $1.5 million that aim to increase economic stability on Moloka‘i by helping the island’s native Hawaiian community to actualize affordable homeownership.
A $398,000 grant was issued through the Office of Hawaiian Affairs that will match $1.1 million in funding from the Administration for Native Americans. The grant funds will allow HCL to launch the 3-year Native Hawaiian Owner-Builder Project on Moloka‘i. The project will serve 58 Nāʻiwa lessee families and five Native Hawaiian builders to increase their capacity to build and own homes on Hawaiian Home Lands.
HCL, as the construction and mortgage financing partner, will join with native Hawaiian beneficiary-led Nāiwa Agricultural Subdivision Alliance to bring together other native-controlled and -committed organizations so services can be brought on-island to the families. Additional project partners will include, Hawaiian Community Assets, 1st Tribunal Lending, Honsador Lumber, and Ozzy’s Construction.
“On behalf of the lessees of the Nāiwa Agricultural Subdivision we are so very grateful and thankful to the tremendous support and genuine care from OHA and Administration for Native Americans in helping us step foot onto our Agricultural Homestead lots and giving us the opportunity to receive access to home-owner builder support and agricultural trainings so that we may one day soon see the fruition of a livable home to shelter our multi-generational families and eventually develop our food-producing farms to feed our families and meet the obligation of our leases,” said NASA volunteer and beneficiary, Liliana Napoleon.
“On a much broader scale, this tremendous support from both OHA and Administration for Native Americans will truly serve as a saving grace in giving hope and motivation to our lessees and their families to want to strive toward breaking the chains of generational poverty and suppression so that they and their generations to come can have a better quality of life and live full and active healthy lifestyles knowing that they have a secured place to call home, and that being their Nāiwa Agricultural Homestead lots,” said Napoleon.
The project will train native Hawaiians as owner-builders, assisting them in navigating the permitting, approval and construction process unique to Hawaiian Home Lands as well as build their capacity to move their agricultural land leases into production. HCL will provide consumer and affordable housing loans for credit building, debt consolidation, and interim construction financing so families can obtain mortgage financing. Native Hawaiian homebuilders will also receive technical assistance and lines of credit to increase their capacity to build package homes on Hawaiian Home Lands using federal financing.
Each of the partners has a role in the project:
“As a leader in providing affordable mortgage lending in Hawai‘i, we’re honored to join the Nāiwa lessees and all our partners to launch this important project on Molokaʻi,” said Jeff Gilbreath, executive director of Hawaiʻi Community Lending. “We mahalo OHA for making this investment in the Nāiwa lessee families and look forward to the day when we can celebrate their return to the land.”