HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The applause for Mark Kamahele signaled a turning point for the longtime hotel worker – one that meant he was closer to buying a home.
On Friday, Kamahele secured a $200,000 mortgage loan.
"It means everything to me. I'll be able to look forward to own my own place for the first time," he said.
The loan came through the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, or NACA. The national non-profit helps low- and moderate-income families land affordable mortgages.
NACA CEO Bruce Marks said his organization's loans favor the home buyer.
"Everybody gets the same deal. No down payment, no closing, no fees and a below market fixed rate," he said.
Prospective home buyers take a four-hour workshop, where earnings are verified and expenses are scrutinized. A person who qualifies knows they can meet their mortgage payments; in many instances, loan approvals are given on the spot.
The money for the mortgages comes from Bank of America and CitiMortgage, which committed $13 billion to the NACA program.
So far this year, NACA has approved $6 billion worth of mortgage loans in cities across the mainland. Cesilee Linares was among those pre-approved for a loan.
"Because I'm asking for more than what I pay in my rent, I have to prove that I can save the difference for three months. Once I prove that, the next step would be shopping for a home," she said.
NACA has an office in Hawaii. With Unite Here Local 5, It's holding all-day events through Tuesday at the Hawaii Convention Center. Sessions are free, and open to anyone.
"Anybody who wants to be a home owner, you have an obligation to come here, because you have everything to gain and nothing to lose," Marks said.
If you do go, take along your financial information.