Habitat for Humanity lends helping hand by building communities

Habitat for Humanity lends helping hand by building communities
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Luckily the clouds are hiding the sun: It would usually be hot for the four women on the property who are working hard on the construction site as they make the forms for the foundation. They will pour concrete this weekend.

This is the Kaniho property -- this 'aina has been in the Kaniho family for two generations. It?s on the edge of a slope that gave way, making the property unusable and shifting the foundation to the point where they had to demolish the house.

Enter Habitat for Humanity:  They have made it possible for the Kanihos to obtain a low-interest loan and have volunteers come out to help build the home.  Volunteers believe in what Habitat for Humanity stands for: They come out to assist, looking at it not as building houses, but building communities.

They team up with "partner families" who already have the land. They have to also put in so many hours of "sweat equity," working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners.

TJ Joseph is not only the operations manager at Honolulu Habitat for Humanity. She was also a "partner family" who had her house built by Honolulu Habitat for Humanity as well.

TJ was diagnosed with ovarian cancer which spread to her lungs and intestines.  She was on chemotherapy at one point for eight hours a day.  She beat it.

With only one ovary, she wondered whether she would have any more children.  She wound up having four.

Living in a one-bedroom home with her husband and four kids, they started to think about where they were going next.

In 2010, TJ?s husband?s family was awarded Hawaiian Home Lands in Waimanalo, so they had the land to build on.  They approached Habitat for Humanity, which was able to help with the 0 percent interest loan.  Habitat volunteers came and helped build the house.  Joseph's family would help as well with lots of sweat equity.  They would write out all the values they wanted as a family and put the pieces of paper in where the foundation would be.

The night before they poured the concrete, they visited the site and played Van Morrison?s "Dancing In The Moonlight" and danced on the pre-foundation.  The family moved in on Christmas Eve 2014.  TJ?s family made lots of memories even before they got into the house.

They have met so many people in the process that many will come by and visit the house they helped to build.  Companies through Habitat for Humanity would come and volunteer a whole day where maybe say bankers from XXX bank would volunteer.  Military came out.  TJ?s family made lots of friends in the process.

Many of the people who came out knew the building process, but a large part of the volunteers did not.  They learned what to do on the job site with those who are experts in the building process.  There were many things that people came to help with that did not require building knowledge.

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