|HILO – The County of Hawaii announced that it will partner with nonprofit, HUD-certified housing counseling agency, Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA) to launch the Hawaii Island Financial Capability Initiative.Through the Initiative HCA will deli
ver free financial education workshops and financial counseling to Hawaii Island residents through April 2016. Individuals who complete workshops and counseling will be eligible to receive up to $30,000 in match savings grants and micro-loans to reduce debt, build credit, and secure or sustain affordable housing. Services and products will be promoted through the County’s Hoowaiwai Network, a collaborative of nonprofit, for-profit, and government entities supporting asset building opportunities for Hawaii’s low- and moderate-income families.
“We are excited about the County’s partnership with Hawaiian Community Assets in the delivery of the financial education programs for our Island residents,” said County of Hawaii Housing Division Manager, Sharon Hirota. “The goal of the Initiative is to increase the financial capacity of our Island residents to achieve and sustain economic self-sufficiency.”
HCA will deliver financial education services and products from its Hilo office and remote sites, including Neighborhood Place of Puna in Keaau and Laiopua 2020 in Kailua-Kona. Additional remote sites in Waimea, Honokaa, and Kau are anticipated to open by 2016 to expand the Initiative’s footprint in hard-to-reach communities, island-wide.
“We mahalo the County of Hawaii for its leadership,” said HCA Executive Director, Jeff Gilbreath. “This partnership demonstrates not only their keen understanding of the financial needs of its people, but more importantly, a commitment to bring critical resources into our communities so together we can continue to rebuild our local economy.”
According to Gilbreath, HCA has served 237 low- and moderate-income Hawaii Island families since 2011, assisting 25 families secure or sustain affordable housing and 14 families achieve financial goals related to debt reduction, transportation for work, improved health, postsecondary education, and small business development. In partnership with its nonprofit lending subsidiary, Hawaii Community Lending, HCA deployed $35,920 in match savings grant funds and micro-loans to assist Hawaii Island families achieve their housing and financial goals in 2014.
“With free financial education and access to capital, our families will have the tools necessary to fulfill their goals and remain active contributors to our economy as homeowners, business owners, entrepreneurs, and college graduates,” finished Gilbreath.
Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA) is a 501c3 nonprofit Department of Housing and Urban Development certified housing counseling agency and Native community development financial institution that builds the capacity of low- and moderate-income communities to achieve and sustain economic self-sufficiency with a particular focus on Native Hawaiians. HCA’s philosophy – kahua waiwai – supports permanent, affordable housing, culturally-relevant financial education, and asset building and community lending programs to achieve our mission.