Down Payment Savings Program Works for Families in Need


May 17, 2011

Honolulu, Hawaii – Eighteen (18) families from around the state are homeowners after participating in the Hawaii Individual Development Account (HIDA) program administered by the nonprofit Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA). HIDA provides down payment matching grants of up to $7,500 to families that save up to $2,500 in funds toward a down payment on a home purchase. A total of 18 families graduated from HIDA after saving over $50,000 collectively, to receive $135,000 toward 18 home purchase transactions. Another 11 participating families that have saved a combined total of over $27,000 are well on their way to receiving HIDA grants on their home purchases. The average annual income is $42,260.

“Individual Development Accounts work by helping families to build reasonable family budgets and to establish savings accounts toward a homeownership goal,” said Lilia Kapuniai, CNHA Vice President. “Home purchases are one of the largest transactions a family will make – our goal is to prepare families with solid financial budgeting and excellent saving habits that will not only achieve homeownership, but also strengthen families to manage their finances to be successful on their home loans.”

HIDA was developed to assist low income families on the waitlist of the State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) to be prepared to qualify for a home and lot selection for a home under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act to providing residential, agricultural and pastoral homesteading opportunities to Native Hawaiians. Over 44 families have participated in the program over the last 4 years. In 2010, CNHA requested pilot funding from the U.S. Treasury Department to expand HIDA to serve any low income family in Hawaii, native or non-native, to assist military, rural, urban and working families in homeless shelters across the state.

“Under a pilot project awarded by the Treasury Department, we’ve dedicated up to $600,000 for down payment and debt reduction saving plans for low and moderate income families,” Kapuniai said. “We’ve also increased the grant match from 3 to 1, to 4 to 1 on down payment savings accounts.”

The Hawaii Family Finance Project (HFFP) was launched in February 2011 with a pilot Treasury grant to CNHA. Applications for HIDA will be accepted starting in June 2011, with mandatory financial assessments completed by project nonprofit partners, Hawaiian Community Assets and Hawaii HomeOwnership Center. For more information on the HFFP, contact Lehua Rosa, CNHA Project Coordinator, or Rosalee Puaoi, CNHA Loan Fund Officer at


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