Kohala Community Organizes Family Financial Empowerment Event; Sees Positive Results

February 23, 2011

Press Release


KAPA`AU, HI – On Saturday, February 12th Ka Hana Noe`au, Partners in Development Foundation invited local nonprofit organizations and government agencies to hold its first-ever Family Financial Empowerment Event at the Kohala Intergenerational Center.  Attended by families from Kapa`au and Hawi, the event featured presentations and one-on-one counseling sessions for free tax preparation, assistance with the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA), small business development, and foreclosure and fraud prevention.

According to RealtyTrac, Kohala currently has 56 family homes going through foreclosure, while Hawaii Island reports a total of 2,535.  Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service has reported that over $40 million in tax credits went unclaimed by Hawai`i families in 2008-09.  The no-cost Family Financial Empowerment Event served as a vehicle to help local families claim earned income tax, child tax, and education credits due to them and mobilize resources to address foreclosure and begin financial planning for post-secondary education and small business start-up.

“I came [to the event] because members of my family want to go to college, and college costs a lot of money,” said Jeffrey Coakley from Kapa`au.  “After sitting down with the FASFA specialist, I found out that this was possible.  It’s a financial relief to know that [my son] can go to college.”


Nonprofit organizations in attendance included statewide Ho`owaiwai Asset Building Network members Ka Hana Noe`au, Hawai`i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development, and Hawaiian Community Assets, while the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Hawai`i County Department of Research and Development joined to represent both state and municipal government agencies.

“This program [was] a wonderful opportunity with all these experts in different financial fields to help us in our little town of Kohala,” continued Mr. Coakley.  “This is a tremendous blessing!  It was all free…no cost!”


Kohala families in need of assistance with free tax and FAFSA preparation and/or foreclosure and fraud prevention are encouraged to contact Erica Cedillos at the Kohala Intergenerational Center at 808-884-5838.


For families and communities outside of Kohala in need of information on the various topics covered during the event may contact the following agencies accordingly:

  • Free Tax Preparation: Hawai`i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development & Individual Self-Sufficiency Program at 808-381-0881 or visit www.hawaiitaxhelp.org;
  • Foreclosure Prevention and FAFSA Assistance: Hawaiian Community Assets, (toll-free) 1-866-400-1116 or visit www.hud.gov/hawaii;
  • Small Business Development and Fraud Prevention: Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, 808-587-7400.