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Private local groups pool $1.5M for low-income families seeking homeownership

Tracey Lyn Gapol
Hawaiʻi Community Lending

A charitable donation from a healthcare company and foundation will help at least 50 families purchase homes this year.

Hawaii Pacific Health, in partnership with the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation, announced Tuesday they would be giving $1.5 million in loans and grants to Hawaiʻi Community Lending.

HCL is a non-profit working to provide community development assistance so low-income households may own a home one day. Hawaiʻi Pacific Health says the group helps nearly 3,000 individuals annually, with a focus on local and Native Hawaiian families.

“This unique partnership allows the organizations to address current issues affecting local communities,” said Marisa Hayase, the Weinberg Foundation's managing director for Hawaiʻi programs, in a press release Tuesday.

A third of the amount is allotted to help HCL expand its operations to assist more families. The rest of the money will be used for low-interest rate loans.

HCL executive director Jeff Gilbreath said this will help low-income families living paycheck to paycheck.

"There's been a lot of talk about affordable rentals. But the opportunity here is to build genuine wealth and to give folks access to land as really the key social determinant," Gilbreath said.

"So when we have access to land, our local and our own families can be more food secure and be more economically self-sufficient. And it's proven to be a source of healing, a source of health for families," he said.

Gilbreath said he expects at least 200 families will benefit from these grants and loans.

More information can be found at Hawaiicommunitylending.com.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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