First Nations is proud to partner with – and highlight – the work of Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA) through our Strengthening Tribal and Community Institutions focus area. HCA provides housing counseling and is a community lending institution that serves Native Hawaiian communities across the State of Hawaii.
As a 2015-2016 Urban Native Project grantee, the goals of the HCA’s “Building Sustainability in Housing Project” is to establish an integrated asset-building system within five Native Hawaiian-controlled nonprofit organizations and Community Development Financial Institutions that will increase affordable housing for Native Hawaiians residing in urban trust lands.
The HCA has started working with organizations to create an integrated asset-building system which are at different stages, and HCA foresees partnerships with other organizations in the project period. Current partner organizations are the Council of Native Hawaiian Advancement, the Hawaiian Community Development Board, INPEACE, and Queen Liliuoakalani Children’s Center.
The HCA’s work is encouraging, relevant, effective and ambitious. The origins of HCA are simple: to increase the success rate of its clients in achieving and sustaining home ownership. HCA’s housing and financial services include financial counseling, rental counseling, pre- and post-purchase counseling, and foreclosure-prevention counseling. The HCA also provides microloans to assist low-income families and individuals in reducing debt, building credit, and securing or sustaining affordable housing. Other activities include financial literacy workshops, tax preparation, matched savings accounts, training and technical assistance, and community-based curriculum. In 2014, HCA served more than 1,022 families, successfully assisting 257 children and adults in securing permanent housing.
Having a program like the HCA is valuable, and vital, because their education and housing services can help give families and individuals the tools and skills they need to work toward safe and permanent housing solutions. It supports Native Hawaiians in moving toward self-sufficiency, which strengthens their capacity to weather life’s financial storms with a stable economic footing.
Economic security and prosperity is a dream that the HCA is making a reality by closing the economic gap for Native Hawaiians in the #1 state in the nation where you’re most likely to live paycheck to paycheck, according to Huffington Post Business (1/18/16).
HCA is creating opportunities for advancement and is making a big difference for Native Hawaiians in achieving housing stability. For more information about the HCA, visit their website at www.hawaiiancommunity.net.
By Montoya Whiteman, First Nations Senior Program Officer