Hawaiian Homestead Leaders Authorize Tiny Home Product for ADU or Starter Home

August 29, 2017

Honolulu, Hawaii — Homestead Leaders from Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Hawaii Island convened on August 25, 2017 and voted unanimously to finalize plans to make a tiny home product available starting on Kauai.

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“We completed a pilot project to assemble a 480-square foot, 1
bedroom, 1 bath home to test the complexity and costs of using prefabricated approach to affordable housing,” said Iwalani McBrayer, Vice Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the nonprofit Homestead Housing Authority. “On average, the pilot home went up and was completed in 32 build days, with 4 laborers, a skilled carpenter and a project manager.”

The homestead leaders reviewed the results of the pilot home project, resulting in materials, labor and overhead under $85,000, with financing at $575 per month over 15 years. The data compares stick built material packages available on the market and contractor labor estimates totaling $125,000.

“It really comes down to complexity and financing risk,” said Robin Danner, the HHA Executive Director. “The prefab modular approach eliminates the need for exterior wall framing. We can enclose a house inside of 18 hours, and eliminate the need for construction financing with a single close loan process.”

The Homestead Housing Authority has experience in building stick homes, having assisted 22 families on Oahu and Kauai to build 22 four-bedroom, 2-bath homes for under $185,000 on Oahu and $160,000 on Kauai. It is also in the predevelopment phase of a potential 50-unit rental project on Oahu using conventional stick frame building methods.

“The tiny home product is a different goal, a different demographic, and therefore a different build method,” Danner remarked. “Families need a product that can be a one off, yet still affordable, meaning, the home is built one by one, depending on the size of their existing lot that already has a home or a vacant lot that isn’t a part of an entire subdivision of homes being built.”

The data from the pilot build revealed a prefab approach can lower risk to the lender, by reducing the complexity and time to enclose the home, with limited skilled carpentry labor required.

“It was well worth the effort over the last year to research options and actually assemble a pilot home,” Mcbrayer said. “Our nonprofit board has enthusiastically approved taking this product to the next step of making it available to our native Hawaiian people.”

The HHA tiny home product creates an excellent starter home for young adults, or as an addition to an existing home for elder family members to age in place. The Homestead Housing Authority is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2009 to address affordable housing and economic development on Hawaiian Home Lands.

SCHHA In D.C. to attend NAIHC Legislative Conference

Good morning homestead leaders and families!

I am in DC this week to attend the legislative conference of the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC), which is the coalition of tribal and native housing authorities and recipients of NAHASDA funds. Over 200 native orgs receive NAHASDA funds nationally, and indeed, it was NAIHC back in 1995 that drafted NAHASDA, and supported our request in 2002 to amend it to include native Hawaiians!

As a former tribal housing authority executive in Indian Country, it’s great to be engaged with NAIHC again – our SCHHA Homestead Housing Authority became a member of NAIHC last year. I expect to see DHHL here this week, as they are the recipient of our NAHASDA funds, which is now only backlog funds and no new allocations. No where else in the country, do NAHASDA funds go to a state govt, in all other cases for American Indians and Alaska Natives, the funds go to a Native controlled nonprofit housing authority.

It’s super chilly here in DC – will keep you posted on the happenings of the next 3 days!

Robin Puanani Danner, SCHHA Chairman

Senate Confirms Ryan Zinke to Secretary of Department of the Interior

Aloha SCHHA Members, friends and families:

Today, the United States Senate confirmed the nomination by President Trump of Ryan Zinke to the Secretary of the Department of Interior. For a bit of background, Zinke is a Congressman from the state of Montana, a former commander of the Navy and the first Navy Seal to be elected to the US House of Representatives.

Interior has jurisdiction over Insular, Native Hawaiian and Indian affairs, as well as federal lands and resources among other areas, specifically for us, oversight of the state of Hawaii in administering the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.

From the hearing today, one of the statements made by Zinke was his view that as Secretary, “he is to be a champion of the great Indian Nations”.

While in congress, he helped author and enact the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement, and worked on federal recognition of the Little Shell Band of Chippewa Cree. One of the statements of many letters of support came from the Fort Belknap Indian Community, saying that Congressman Zinke “understands and respects sovereignty, and deeply cares about Native Americans”.

Congratulations to Secretary Zinke, and we mahalo him for his service in the Navy and in the Congress. We look forward to working with Secretary Zinke and his team to ensure that our families see the fulfillment of the HHCA!

Has been very warm here in DC, but has now turned stormy!

Robin Puanani Danner, SCHHA Chairman

Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG) Application Deadline is August 29, 2011

Applications are being accepted for grants to provide economic assistance to independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives and agricultural producer groups through the Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG).

Value-Added Producer Grants (http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_VAPG_Grants.html) may be used for feasibility studies or business plans, working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and agricultural producer groups. Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage.

Awards may be made for planning activities or for working capital expenses, but not for both. The maximum grant amount for a planning grant is $100,000 and the maximum grant amount for a working capital grant is $300,000. Rural Development is encouraging applications that will support communities in urban or rural areas, with limited access to healthy foods and with a high poverty and hunger rate.

Matching funds. Grant funds may be used to pay up to 50 percent of the total eligible project costs, subject to the limitations established for maximum total grant amount. Applicants must certify the availability and source-verify all matching funds at time of application submission.

The application deadline is August 29, 2011. For further details about eligibility rules and application procedures, see the June 28, 2011, Federal Register (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-06-28/html/2011-16121.htm).

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $150 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

Visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov for additional information about the agency’s programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Timothy W. O’Connell | Assistant to the State Director
Rural Development

U.S. Department of Agriculture

154 Waianuenue Ave., Room 303
Hilo, HI  96720
(808) 933-8313| (808) 933-8326 (F)
Committed to the future of rural communities


Support from Lanai to Molokai

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 By Molokai Dispatch staff

To the people of Molokai, our brothers and sisters. We were very excited to hear of your meeting with Pattern and Bio-Logical Capital. Copies of the event are showing up all over the island. If we don’t take care of the `aina, what will become of us? Thank you for your courage. The people of Lanai are with you!

We have limited land and a fragile environment. If we make the wrong decisions regarding our ecosystem, there is no recovery. Historically, industrial wind turbine complexes do not deliver as promised in the slick corporate brochures. They bankrupt countries with the burden of guaranteed loans, tax subsidies and higher utility costs. They kill jobs per studies coming out of Spain. If wind was a firm source of electricity, one might consider options regarding these structures. However, they are not. If they deliver even 12 percent of the capacity we would be lucky. This is so much less electricity than spending the same amount of money on solar voltaic, solar water heaters and installing small wind turbines on all tall buildings would produce. See the HEOC building on Lagoon Drive by the airport in Honolulu for small productive wind turbines.

Our tax dollars need to be directed to technology that works. Not only do these renewable energy projects cost less, but have little impact on the environment. If a unit fails, the grid is not affected. The money and jobs stay in Hawaii. Local businesses develop with the installation and maintenance of these local projects. Just look at the island of Nauru, smallest island in Micronesia, to see what happens when green wins out over the `aina. Nauru allowed corporations with promises of riches to mine the phosphate on the island. The phosphate ran out. The money has been spent and now they are left with environmental damage that may take thousands of years to restore. We cannot repeat that ecological disaster here.

Susan Osako

Workshop with the King of Slack Key Guitar: Ledward Kaapana

Ledward Kaapana
July 2, 2010, Friday At the LEAD Center
Keiki Class
9am-10:00am FREE if registered at
LiveHawaiianLegends.com by July 1, 2010
$30 at the Door without preregistration.
To Register A Keiki: email us
10:30am-11:30am Adults, $65 pre registered
by July 1, 2010 at LiveHawaiianLegends.com
$75 at the door without preregistration.

Blessed Marianne Closer to Sainthood

The second miracle needed for Molokai’s Blessed Marianne Cope to be declared a saint was medically approved last week. The ruling marks a significant step toward her canonization.

The Vatican’s medical board pronounced that there is no medical explanation for the cure of a woman who had suffered from an illness previously believed terminal and incurable. The identity of the woman and other details have not yet been disclosed.

The announcement was made last week by the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, NY, home of Blessed Marianne’s religious community, the Sisters of St. Francis. The next step in the verification of the miracle is the examination and approval of the Vatican’s theologians, who will decide if the healing was the result of prayer to Blessed Marianne.

If they do attribute the incident to Marianne’s intercession, the case will be evaluated by a board of cardinals and bishops. The pope will then make the final decision whether or not to approve the miracle, which could be followed by Blessed Marianne’s canonization.

The first miracle attributed to Marianne, which resulted in her beatification (given the title “blessed”), was approved by the Vatican in 2004. The case involved the medically unexplainable recovery of a dying New York girl after prayers were said to Blessed Marianne.

Blessed Marianne came to Hawaii in 1883 to establish nursing care for patients of Hansen’s disease. She worked in Kalaupapa – alongside St. Damien at the end of his life – for 30 of the 35 years she served in Hawaii, and died on the peninsula in 1918.

Assistance Program Launched for Families with Vacant Lots to Build Homes


June 30, 2011

Honolulu, Hawaii – The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), a community development nonprofit is launching a construction assistance program for families with a vacant lot issued to them by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.  The Vacant Lot Owner Builder program will serve families who are holding homestead leases to unimproved lots under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, to help them through the owner-builder process of building a home.

“We’re really excited about creating this program, and working with families to build homes on their homestead land,” said Robin Puanani Danner, CNHA President.  “It’s something that community leaders brought to CNHA to focus on in order to help Hawaiian families keep their homestead leases and work on building a home as an owner-builder.”

The State of Hawaii, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, is the state agency charged with administering the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA) of 1920, to issue land leases for residential lots, farms and ranching purposes to Native Hawaiians.  After 90 years, fewer than 8,500 land leases have been issued, and many are issued as vacant lots.  The Vacant Lot Owner Builder program is directed at these lessees to provide construction assistance to build homes.

“The Vacant Lot Owner Builder program goes to the heart of the Department’s goal of providing different kinds of homesteading opportunities for Native Hawaiian beneficiaries,” said Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairman Alapaki Nahale-a.  “We are appreciative of the valuable service provided by nonprofit partners like CNHA as we work together toward delivering on the mission of DHHL and meeting our obligations under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.”

CNHA will conduct a financial assessment on participating lessees, provide assistance in obtaining a home loan and construction financing, and help to put together house plans, cost estimates and ultimately construct a home.  “Building a home is not an every-day task and it helps to have specialized assistance to do it,” Danner said.  “Most families have never been through the process, and of course, it can be the most frustrating and the most rewarding experience ever.  What we aim to do with this product, is to work with families to get through the process of financing and construction, step by step, to get a home financed and built.”

Continue reading Assistance Program Launched for Families with Vacant Lots to Build Homes

Virtual Meeting Attendance: Not Present, But Still Here

In an ideal board meeting, all members are present and engaged in a structured and vigorous debate of the issues on the agenda. The chair leads the discussion, fine-tuned to the overall mood of the board, and ensures everyone’s participation. During planned breaks, chatter fills the boardroom, and when the meeting is over, some members hurry out with their carry-ons in tow while others linger to talk to the chief executive and their board colleagues. In reality, few board meetings are that perfect. For example, at times, even the most committed members are not able to attend every meeting. This is unfortunate because not only do they miss the meeting but the rest of the board misses their contribution. There is an option, however — meeting via tele- and videoconference. Telecommuting staff are accustomed to meeting this way. Why can’t board members do the same? “Virtual attendance” can accommodate individual board member’s needs, save time and money, and, under some circumstances, be an effective alternative to physical attendance.
Continue reading Virtual Meeting Attendance: Not Present, But Still Here

Can nonprofits lobby?

All nonprofits are encouraged to be active advocates of their mission. However, the IRS allows 501(c)(3)s to engage in lobbying as long as it is not a “substantial part” of their activities. 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations and 501(c)(6) trade associations may engage in lobbying activities without limits; in fact, that can sometimes be one of their main functions. As the “substantial part” definition is rather ambiguous, public charities that lobby should understand the monetary parameters for what constitutes “substantial.”

It is important to remember that political activity — campaigning in favor or against a candidate — is strictly prohibited for a charity. A violation of the IRS regulations may result in the organization losing its tax-exempt status or having to pay excise taxes on the money improperly spent.