Housing grants to help 31 Hawaiian families
The funding will help supplement personal savings for a down payment on a home
Lehua Rosa Malott, a homeownership counselor at the Hawaii HomeOwnership Center, used an individual development account to boost her savings so that she could buy her first home in 2001.
Malott saved $1,667, and the program, which was administered by the Waimanalo Community Development Corporation, kicked in another $5,000 so that could pay her closing costs and put three percent down on the property. Now, she's delighted that the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement has come out with a similar program that will assist the clients that she serves.
NATIVE HAWAIIAN HOME GRANTS LAUNCHED
The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement has introduced a new down payment assistance program that will make it possible for more Hawaiians to purchase homes.
The Homestead Individual Development Account will provide a means for 31 families to expand their savings for down payments and closing costs. Developed for low- to moderate-income families, the program will serve Native Hawaiian families whose household incomes are less than 80 percent of the area median income.
The program, which has been funded by $225,000 in grant money from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will match dollars saved by eligible families for the purchase of a home by three to one. The program cap is $7,500 per family.
"Anything that's coming out is good news," Rosa Malott said, adding that while there are several IDA programs in the marketplace, competition for the money is fierce.
The newest IDA, which has been funded by $225,000 in grant money from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will match every dollar saved by eligible families for the purchase of a home by three to one. The program cap is $7,500. Developed for low- to moderate-income families, the program will serve Native Hawaiian families whose household incomes are less than 80 percent of the area median income.
"IDAs are innovative and successful programs, very popular around the country to encourage low-income families to establish savings accounts and help their reach the goal of homeownership," said Robin Puanani Danner, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, which was founded in 2001 to help native communities in Hawaii and the Pacific.
The Homestead Individual Development Account will make it possible to get more Hawaiians into homes, Puanani Danner said, even though its current funding level limits it to 31 families.
"We created this program for the Hawaiian Homes Commission," she said, adding that many families who live within HIDA guidelines do not have cash savings or liquidity. Participants in the program will be required to meet minimum monthly savings guidelines, thus developing better money management, Puanani Danner said
In the last three years, the Hawaiian Homes Commission has put more than 2,500 native Hawaiians into homes out of the 20,000 or so that are on the waiting list, Micah Kane, chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission has said. The department's goal, which is running slightly ahead of schedule, is to put at least 1,000 applicants a year into homes, he said.
"With the residential projects underway by DHHL, a down-payment assistance program is absolutely critical to families to qualify for the home loans that will be needed," said Michelle Kauhane, executive director of Hawaiian Community Assets.
HIDA is accepting applications. For more information, contact HCA toll free at 1-866-400-1116; online at www.hawaiiancommunity.net or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact CNHA at (808) 521-5011; online at www.hawaiiancouncil.org or by email, email@example.com.