Aloha Kekauoha (second from the right) and her ʻohana stand in front of their brand new three bedroom home in the Villages at Laʻiʻopua in North Kona. Their home was one of five homes built in 10 days by hundreds of Habitat for Humanity West Hawaiʻi volunteers during a Blitz Build that was partly funded by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
To help boost Hawai‘i’s homeownership rate, OHA has focused on helping increasingly more Native Hawaiians achieve housing stability. According to the latest available figures, the number of Native Hawaiians who own homes has been steadily rising for the past four consecutive years, hitting 38,936, or 56.7 percent of all housing units owner-occupied by Native Hawaiians in 2013. At the same time, more than half of Native Hawaiian renters live in homes they are struggling to afford.
Families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care. An estimated 51 percent of Native Hawaiians who rent their homes fall into this category.
In response, OHA has set its sights on laying important groundwork for increasing homeownership and housing stability among renters within the Native Hawaiian community.
The goal is to help more Native Hawaiians become creditworthy and better at managing finances. For OHA, this is part of a broader focus on encouraging self-sufficiency by helping more Native Hawaiian families become financially viable and put down roots that strengthens communities across the state.