Assistance Program Launched for Families with Vacant Lots to Build Homes

Posted on Jun 30, 2011 in Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Media Releases


June 30, 2011

Assistance Program Launched for Families with Vacant Lots to Build Homes

Honolulu, Hawaii – The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), a community development nonprofit is launching a construction assistance program for families with a vacant lot issued to them by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The Vacant Lot Owner Builder program will serve families who are holding homestead leases to unimproved lots under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, to help them through the owner-builder process of building a home.

“We’re really excited about creating this program, and working with families to build homes on their homestead land,” said Robin Puanani Danner, CNHA President. “It’s something that community leaders brought to CNHA to focus on in order to help Hawaiian families keep their homestead leases and work on building a home as an owner-builder.”

The State of Hawaii, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, is the state agency charged with administering the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA) of 1920, to issue land leases for residential lots, farms and ranching purposes to Native Hawaiians. After 90 years, fewer than 8,500 land leases have been issued, and many are issued as vacant lots. The Vacant Lot Owner Builder program is directed at these lessees to provide construction assistance to build homes.

“The Vacant Lot Owner Builder program goes to the heart of the Department’s goal of providing different kinds of homesteading opportunities for Native Hawaiian beneficiaries,” said Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairman Alapaki Nahale-a. “We are appreciative of the valuable service provided by nonprofit partners like CNHA as we work together toward delivering on the mission of DHHL and meeting our obligations under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.”

CNHA will conduct a financial assessment on participating lessees, provide assistance in obtaining a home loan and construction financing, and help to put together house plans, cost estimates and ultimately construct a home. “Building a home is not an every-day task and it helps to have specialized assistance to do it,” Danner said. “Most families have never been through the process, and of course, it can be the most frustrating and the most rewarding experience ever. What we aim to do with this product, is to work with families to get through the process of financing and construction, step by step, to get a home financed and built.”

If you are a lessee of a vacant lot on Hawaiian Home Lands and are interested in the Vacant Lot Owner Builder program, contact CNHA to obtain a participant application and conduct an assessment. For more information, contact Rosalee Puaoi, CNHA Loan Fund & Project Manager at 808.596.8155 or email at [email protected].

CNHA is a national network of Native Hawaiian Organizations, providing assistance in accessing capital and technical resources, and is a policy voice on issues important to Native Hawaiian communities. Its mission is to enhance the well-being of Hawaii through the cultural, economic, and community development of Native Hawaiians. For more information about CNHA please contact us at 808.596.8155, toll-free at 1.800.709.2642, by e-mail at [email protected], or visit our website at

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