CNHA's Energy Program Reaches Out to Waianae Valley Homesteaders

WAIANAE, HI – On April 24th, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) participated in a community outreach day at Kaupuni Neighborhood Park, sponsored by the Waianae Valley Homestead Community Association (WVHCA). The event included a voter registration table hosted by the association, and an information table staffed by homesteaders working with Census 2010. CNHA hosted a table for its Homestead Energy Program (HEP), where volunteers passed out free CFL bulbs and accepted applications from families who were interested in installing solar water heaters in their homes.

The Homestead Energy Project launched in the fall of 2009 to help families conserve their wages for life essentials. The purpose of the HEP is to provide loans and grants to qualified homesteaders who would like to make beneficial improvements to their homes by purchasing and installing a solar water heating system.

“With solar, families can start saving money on their utilities the very first month a water heater is installed,” said Robin Puanani Danner, President and CEO of CNHA.  “Putting in solar is the right thing to do for our environment, and it’s a great way to help families save or redirect thousands of dollars in energy saving.”

“We invited CNHA and Census 2010 into our community to share their services and information,” said Kapua Keliikoa-Kamai, Secretary and Community Coordinator of  WVHCA.  The Association partners with community organizations, including Ka Pa’alana Traveling Pre-School and the Waianae Boys & Girls Club, to provide cultural, economical, educational, and social services and programs to the Waianae Valley. “I’m proud that our Association is bringing resources into the community for our residents.”

“The event was a great success,” said EnJolí Alexander, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with CNHA.  “Members of the Waianae Valley community came to the event, received services, then called their friends and neighbors and told them to come down to the park.  We received several applications from homesteaders interested in installing solar in their homes, and successfully traded 100 light bulbs for CFL’s!”

The Blue Planet Foundation facilitated the partnership between CNHA and homestead community associations by providing a community organizing grant that ensures HEP’s main method of outreach remains. The local nonprofit has an agreement with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) to develop programs that attract capital resources to homestead areas statewide. In addition to the Homestead Energy Program, the nonprofit is also working on a capital pool to finance community facilities and charter schools.

For more information on the CNHA Homestead Energy Program, download a flier at www.hawaiiancouncil.org/documents/ProgramFlyers/HEPFlyer.pdf

CNHA is a national network of Native Hawaiian organizations, providing assistance in accessing capital and technical resources, and is a policy voice on issues important to Native Hawaiian communities. Its mission is to enhance the well-being of Hawaii through the cultural, economic, and community development of Native Hawaiians. For more information about CNHA please contact us at 808.596.8155, toll-free at 1.800.709.2642, by e-mail at info@hawaiiancouncil.org, or visit our website at www.hawaiiancouncil.org.