An Oahu organization is tackling the housing crisis, one home at a time. But it needs your help

Habitat Leeward concentrates on Oahu’s west side, from Ewa to Kaena Point.
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 2:41 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 22, 2023 at 4:41 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In the past 20 years, Habitat for Humanity Leeward has built 22 homes for families who were able to finally realize their dream of home ownership.

But the faith-based organization knows all that work is still just a drop in the bucket.

“There aren’t enough affordable homes to help everybody. We all do the best that we can. In our case we serve one to two families a year by building them new homes,” executive director Jo Bautista said.

Habitat Leeward concentrates on Oahu’s west side, from Ewa to Kaena Point. Most of the families it helps are Hawaiian Homelands lessees. The houses are built by the owners and volunteers.

The Dana family is the latest local family to get the keys to their new Habitat home.

“We’re so grateful to Habitat,” Helen Dana said. “If not for this organization we wouldn’t have our home today.”

To do its work, Habitat Leeward depends heavily on its store in Campbell Industrial Park.

ReStore Leeward has just about everything you need for home renovations.

“We have an assortment of building products, household items, appliances,” Bautista said. “Generally, if it’s a new product we go 50 to 60 percent of retail.”

The new merchandise comes from donations made by big box stores and from individuals who contribute gently used items. Revenue from sales enables Habitat Leeward to build houses for families who need help.

“This ReStore, whatever it generates, is what covers our overhead. It keeps Habitat alive. It keeps us going,” Bautista said.

Honolulu Habitat for Humanity closed its ReStore earlier this year. Habitat Leeward wants people to know that ReStore Leeward is still open for business and it needs more shoppers to come to browse, buy, and even barter.

“Oftentimes, people come in and say, ‘Would you take $20 for this?’ It might be priced at $30. Our attitude is ‘Yes!’ We’ll take the $20 because we need it. Every dollar counts,” Bautista said.

Thanks to Habitat for Humanity, the Dana ohana now own a three-bedroom, two-bath home that they waited decades for.

“For us, 40 years felt like forever. But we thank God! It’s on God’s timing, not our time,” Johnathan Dana said.

Habitat Leeward Oahu also does home renovations.

And it has more home-building projects planned, so more revenue from ReStore is urgently needed.

“We’re about to build another home near the Kroc Center, and it is for another Hawaiian Homelands lessee,” Bautista said.

ReStore Leeward is located at 91-291 Kalaeloa Blvd. in Campbell Industrial Park.

As long as it keeps building its customer base, families dreams of owning a house will come true – one Habitat home at a time.