For a variety of reasons, home ownership is difficult for many families in Hawai‘i to achieve, especially families with limited financial resources. Because home ownership contributes to a variety of positive outcomes for families with children, the Foundation committed to helping families build and own a first home through two housing projects, beginning in the mid-90s. Hauʻoli Mau Loa Village in Waimea, Kauaʻi was completed in 2000 and Puʻuʻalalā Village in Pepeʻekeo, Hawaiʻi in 2022. The self-help model was used for both projects and has proven to be an effective way to construct homes and to develop an initial sense of community among the new homeowners.
With both self-help housing projects complete, the Foundation Board and Staff spent some time reflecting on the Foundation’s work in housing and how they might continue to support these efforts. To better understand the issues and opportunities surrounding this work, the Foundation engaged with Dr. Phillip Garboden, HCRC Professor in Affordable Housing at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and a team of graduate students to help identify potential strategies the Foundation might support to make progress towards their goal of affordable housing for families. Dr. Garboden and his team produced a report detailing their findings and recommendations.
Based on the report recommendations, the Foundation has renewed its commitment to affordable housing for families through three strategies: (1) providing funding to one or more CDFIs to support an acquisition and predevelopment loan fund for affordable housing developers; (2) providing additional support, such as home buyer education and counseling and down payment assistance to families who are near-ready to buy a home; and (3) helping to develop stronger pathways for Hawaiʻi’s local youth into nonprofit housing development careers through an internship program.