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Local grant to boost Native Hawaiian homeownership efforts

Habitat for Humanity.jpg
Honolulu Habitat for Humanity
Honolulu Habitat for Humanity helps many families become homeowners through programs, education and other resources. Pictured is a recent key ceremony for a local family and their new home in Papakōlea.

Honolulu Habitat for Humanity was awarded a grant by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to help tackle affordable housing.

TJ Joseph, Honolulu Habitat for Humanity’s CEO, said this is the largest grant of its kind that the nonprofit has received from OHA.

The $1.5 million grant will help 36 Native Hawaiians become homeowners. Funds will be used to build nine homes on homestead lands over the next two years.

Officials will also hold outreach and education sessions for more families.

“It’s difficult here in Hawaiʻi when you think about being a homeowner. It seems so far beyond the reach, especially for those who are lower income, the population that we serve," Joseph said.

"So it’s really about making the connection with that family, to have them understand what is it that they want. And it’s not the dream home. It’s the dream of homeownership.”

Joseph said many of the families they work with are Native Hawaiian. While this grant will help some of them, she said they expect much more need from the community in the future.

Editor's note: Habitat for Humanity and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs are HPR underwriters.

Jayna Omaye is the culture and arts reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at
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