HUD Office of Native American Programs Visit Affordable Housing Projects

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 20, 2011

Anahola, Hawaii – In April, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials Mr. Tom Wright, Director from the Office of Native American Programs in Washington DC  and Ms. Claudine Allen, Native Hawaiian Program Specialist in Honolulu met with representatives from the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA), and Anahola Hawaiian Homes Association (AHHA) for a special tour of the various community projects underway in the Anahola homesteads on the island of Kauai.

“It was a great visit that allowed us to showcase the newly built Certified Kitchen, which was made possible through funding from HUD,” said Rosalee Puaoi, CNHA Loan Fund Officer.  “We were able to discuss the economic challenges that are faced by many rural homesteaders and the need for micro-enterprise, and job creation in the region.”

The tour began at the AHHA Resource Center where foreclosure prevention and homeownership training takes place, as well as access to computer and networking services by area residents.  HUD funding assisted in the retrofit of the facility to create a greater emphasis on services that help families avoid foreclosure and create needed information for families looking to achieve homeownership.  HUD funds were also vital in the construction of the only Certified Kitchen on the east end of Kauai.  Built in the middle of a 5-acre outdoor marketplace, the kitchen opens the door for entrepreneurs to make and sell food products at the marketplace or through mobile units island-wide.

“We are very happy to be a part of the synergy at the Resource Center,” says Michelle Kauhane, HCA Executive Director.  “HCA uses homeownership as a tool to build, strengthen, and sustain Hawaiian families and communities for future generations and it is our hope to assist families across Kauai to become self sufficient, especially during these crucial economic times.

After visiting the AHHA Resource Center, Certified Kitchen and Marketplace, the tour continued on to 12 newly built Homestead Self Help Program homes in the Piilani Mai Ke Kai subdivision, where Mr. Wright commented about the “Hybrid Self Help” project CNHA has embarked on with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.  The Anahola tour concluded at Kanuikapono Charter School, where HUD representatives were able to meet with faculty and students and learn about their learning approach as a “school without walls”.  The 10-year old public charter school focuses on delivering educational achievements through Hawaiian culture and nature based programs.

“We are grateful Tom and Claudine were able to visit HUD funded developments in Anahola,” says Robin Puanani Danner, CNHA President & CEO.  “It’s so important for HUD officials from Washington DC to visit on the ground, the impact of the funding and leveraged funding created by HUD, as well as to have time to strategize with community leaders on maximizing programs where the needs are the greatest.”

CNHA is currently working on 10 self help homes in Kapolei, with another 10 homes in the preliminary planning stages for Laiopua homestead on Hawaii Island.  DHHL provides a basic technical assistance grant per unit, and CNHA coordinates construction and take-out financing, homebuyer education and construction assistance to participating families.  Under a grant from the U.S. Treasury, CNHA will be providing down payment grants to assist low income families complete purchases or new construction of homes over the next 3 years.

For more information on the CNHA Homestead Self Help Program, email info@hawaiiancouncil.org or contact Rosalee Puaoi, CNHA Project Manager at 808.596.8155. If you have received an undivided interest lease from DHHL, you may be eligible to participate in the next self help project planned for Kapolei, Laiopua or Anahola.  CNHA is a Hawaii-based nonprofit working to enhance the cultural, economic and community development of Native Hawaiians. For more information about other CNHA services, please visit the website www.hawaiiancouncil.org.

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