Hawaii First FCU helps Hawaiians purchase homes


Hawaii First FCU assisted 16 families in becoming homeowners with $102,400 in matched funding via its Hawaiian Home Lands Individual Development Account program in 2009.

With a second round of funding in 2011 from the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program through the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act and in partnership with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Hawaii First continues to offer this unique matched savings program, said Laura Aguirre, president/CEO.

The Hawaiian Home Lands IDA program is designed to assist participants in achieving greater economic success through financial training, savings and match funds.

Participants are provided with free training and education on topics ranging from budgeting and credit repair to cost and responsibilities associated with being a homeowner. Upon completion of all program requirements, participants’ savings are matched with $6,400, giving participants a total of $8,000 to be used for closing costs/down payment assistance.

on constructing a new home, purchasing a turnkey home or buying an existing home on Hawaiian Home Lands.

“We are always looking for ways to provide opportunities for our community. In many cases, families are unable to come up with the initial investment required to purchase a home. This program provides an alternative avenue through matched savings that gives people an incentive to save,” said Aguirre. “We take pride in the fact that we are able to offer hope to some of these families who, through this program, will be able to achieve their goal of becoming a homeowner with the support of Hawaii First.”

While the ultimate goal of the program is to help families become homeowners, a secondary goal for Hawaii First is to instill a habit of saving in program participants.

“One of our objectives with our IDA programs is to help our clients see the value in setting a financial goal, saving for it, and achieving that goal,” said Mary Ann Otake, vice president of operations and development.

“This year, Hawaii First is assisting nine families who have saved $11,160.08 toward their homeownership goal, and we hope to see them continue saving for other goals.”

There are still a few openings available in the program. Applicants must be residents of Hawaii Island, be able to provide proof of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) eligibility, be pre-qualified for a construction loan or mortgage, and meet the 2012 Native American Housing Assistance Self Determination Act (NAHASDA) Income Schedule by Family Size.

For more details, visit www.hawaiifirstfcu.com. About Hawaii First Federal Credit Union Hawaii First Federal Credit Union (HFFCU) is a not for profit, community-based, low income designated Federal Credit Union, which was organized in 1956.

Today, Hawaii First serves as a catalyst through providing Hawaii County with many no cost services focused on overall community revitalization and economic development. HFFCU serves the Island of Hawaii through its multiple branches and programs such as the Hawaii First Community Resource Centers.

The Hawaii First Community Resource Centers (HFCRC) are community outreach programs of the credit union. These no-cost community resource centers provide services to residents of the Island of Hawaii, focusing on Hawaii’s much-needed economic development, one family at a time.

“The HFCRCs are here to help anyone reach their goal by providing the tools and resources necessary to obtain self-sustainability in many areas,” said Keala Barnett, community development coordinator.

 

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