Nānākuli Housing Corporation Dedicates Affordable Hawaiian Homestead

Posted on Apr 24, 2013 in Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Media Releases

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Innovative design a realized dream of NHC Founder, the late Paige Kawelo Barber


April 24, 2013

NĀNĀKULI, HI — Governor Neil Abercrombie and Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair Jobie Masagatani joined the Nānākuli Housing Corporation (NHC) today to break ground on the first “Kawelo Cottage” built for Dustin & Sheena Barrett on their Hawaiian homestead in Nānākuli, O’ahu.

“We gather today to celebrate the fulfillment of the vision for native Hawaiians, as set forth by Aunty Paige Kawelo Barber,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie, “Her vision will forever live on in this home that bears her name – the Kawelo Cottage.”

The Kawelo Cottage is the realized dream of NHC’s late founder, Paige Kawelo Barber, whose vision was to create affordable housing for native Hawaiians. Under her direction NHCs vision was and is that every Native Hawaiian family will have a home.

“Everyone here remains deeply committed to continue the work started by my mother Paige,” says Kapi’olani Barber, Executive Director at NHC. “I’m pleased to finally have this groundbreaking with our first Kawelo Cottage. These homes are uniquely designed for our community and everyone at NHC looks forward to assisting more families finance and build their new homes.”

The current Barrett home is nearly 50 years old and is scheduled for demolition. The aging home will be replaced by a 4-bedroom/3-bathroom Kawelo Cottage, which will be built with the help of numerous volunteers engaging in the self-help housing model.

Gov and the Barretts untie the maile

Governor Neil Abercrombie joins the Barrett ʻohana in untying the ceremonial maile at the entrance to their Hawaiian homestead lot where their old home will be demolished and a new Paige Kawelo Barber model home will be built. They are joined by City Councilwoman Kimberly Marcos Pine and Chair of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Jobie Masagatani. Photo: Blaine Fergerstrom

“Congratulations to the Barrett ‘Ohana for taking on the kuleana of caring for this homestead lot that has been in your ‘ohana for generations,” said Jobie Masagatani, Chair of the Hawaiian Homes Commission and Director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, “This project is a true testament to Prince Kūhiō’s vision of ‘āina ho’opulapula.”

“I am so fortunate that my grandmother Aileen passed her homestead lot down to me so that I will be able to raise my family here,” said Nānākuli homesteader Dustin Barrett, “This is such a blessing to have all these people to help us through this.”

The NHC helped the Barretts secure down-payment assistance from the Native American Housing and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA) and a mortgage from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Kawelo Cottage is the result of a series of community meetings with families from NHC’s Self-Help Home Repair & Financial Literacy classes to source design elements for an affordable home for and by Native Hawaiians. These families wanted their homes to be as Green as possible with open living concepts and a bathroom in the garage. NHC secured funding from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) to create this design.

The Kawelo Cottage was designed by Architect Karen Wang and this first cottage will be built by Jeff Cantrell of Kai Builders. The construction plans include the demolition of the existing home, grading of the lot, and a “turn-key” home with plumbing, electrical, appliances, and cabinetry in the kitchen and baths.


About Nānākuli Housing Corporation

NHC was established in 1989, to serve the community through innovative programs, which promote the advancement of Native Hawaiians by building their personal assets through homeownership. NHC programs include:

Homeownership & Financial Literacy – training which promotes financial literacy, credit repair, and homeownership among Native Hawaiians

Base Yard Hawaii – a building materials reuse center which provides Hawai’i’s low- income families, non-profit organizations, and the general public with recycled construction materials

Self Help Home Repair or Replacement – instruction in home repair, maintenance, and home replacement

More Affordable Homes– through a grant from the Administration for Native Americans, NHC has one-stop affordable home kits.

Since 1989, NHC has provided training to over 2,000 native Hawaiians and their families in financial literacy and self help home repair and maintenance and distributed nearly $500,000 of reusable construction materials to our native Hawaiian families. NHC training programs assist low to moderate-income families. NHC’s vision is that every Native Hawaiian family will have a home. Their mission is that every Native Hawaiian family, regardless of their income status, will build their personal assets through homeownership.

About the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands

Created by the U.S. Congress by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, assimilated by the State of Hawai‘i in 1959 as part of the Statehood Act, the Hawaiian Homes Commission exists to administer the Act and the 200,000 acres of land set aside for native Hawaiians. The Commission consists of nine commissioners, including the Chair, who also serves as the Director of the state agency known as the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.


Nānākuli Housing Corporation
Cedric Duarte
(808) 221-0991
[email protected]

Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
Darrell T. Young, Deputy to the Director
(808) 620-9510
[email protected]