Since statehood, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) has been working to provide homes to Native Hawaiians through partnerships with contractors and financial institutions to build and finance homes on homestead lands across the state.
Here to talk more about this is Kui Meyer from Bank of Hawaii and Michelle Kauhane, Deputy Director for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
What type of programs are out there to help native Hawaiians attain their goal of home ownership?
Local financial and lending companies have been partnering with DHHL to help finance homes on Homestead lands across the state. They offer loan programs specifically designed for this niche market. Programs through the Federal Housing Administration and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development make getting into these new homes more affordable.
What is the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands role in these programs?
DHHL was created to fulfill the mission of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust created by the Federal enactment of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920. To fulfill the mission of the Trust, DHHL believes its responsibility goes beyond building homes and offering residential opportunities. As a Trust, we have a kuleana, or obligation to our beneficiaries. With this understanding, we support native Hawaiian beneficiaries with homebuyer education an financial literacy classes, free of charge, to support practical financial management and assistance in the home buying process.
Approximately how many homes will be available in say the next 5 years?
With a goal of providing a minimum of 200 homes per year, there are upwards of 1000 new homes that could be built over the next 5 years. Combine that with the very low financing rates, and the timing to get serious about buying a home on Hawaiian Home Lands could not be any better. We are continuing to build homes throughout Hawaii and see Hawaiian Home Lands as an integral part of the solution to the economic crisis we face in Hawaii. DHHL's ongoing projects continue to encourage economic development and support the creation of new jobs.
What types of loan programs are available for potential home buyers?
There are two special loan programs: the FHA 247 and the HUD 184A. These programs finance homes that are leased on Hawaiian Homestead land. With as little as 2.5% down, these Native Hawaiian families often find themselves in a newly built home with beautiful amenities to call their own.
So if someone is preparing to become a home buyer, what steps would you take them through?
When a family sits down with me to discuss the process of preparing for their home purchase, it is an important meeting that helps set the course of the months ahead. Based on the discussion, some families will have to save more, some will have to pay down some bills, and some may even have to sell the current house they live in to get the cash to buy the new home.
We appreciate our banking partners who help us meet the financing needs of our beneficiaries and who make the dream of owning a home a reality for Native Hawaiians. The greatest challenge for families is finding the financing experts who truly understand Hawaiian Home Lands. It is always a wonderful feeling to see new homeowners take their first steps into the door of their new home.