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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 02-063
(202) 708-0685
June 12, 2002

HUD Assistant Secretary Liu Marks National Homeownership Month With New Home Blessing and Groundbreaking

WAILUKU, MAUI - On his first day of a two-day trip to Hawaii to commemorate National Homeownership Month, Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Michael Liu today helped bless and break ground for a new home for Donald and Audrey Kalehuawehe, their two daughters and grand-children.

The new home, located in one of the oldest sections of Maui, was made possible through the FHA 247 Program, which in Hawaii can be used to finance homes in Hawaiian Home Lands subdivisions and Hawaiian Homestead communities.

"The Bush Administration and Secretary Martinez are committed to helping families like the Kalehuawehes find affordable homes," Liu said. "Homeownership strengthens families, strengthens communities, and is critical to the nation's economic health."

For 32 years Donald and Audrey Kalehuawehe lived and raised their family in a modest home on the Paukukalo Hawaiian Homestead. Like many Hawaiian couples, the Kalehuawehes dreamed of eventually leaving their home to their children and grandchildren. In recent years, however, the home deteriorated so badly that it was no longer habitable. But with the help of one of their daughters and their son, the Kalehuawehes decided to rebuild their family home.

The retired couple learned about Hawai`i Community Lending, a new nonprofit mortgage lender that specializes in working with Hawaiian Homestead families. Hawai`i Community Lending is the mortgage lending arm of Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA), a new nonprofit organization dedicated to creating homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families, using an approach that includes homeownership and financial literacy workshops, counseling, and access to construction and mortgage credit.

"Our programs are presented in the context of Hawaiian culture and values, which makes the technicalities of homeownership more understandable to our local people," said Kehaulani Filimoe'atu, HCA's board President. "The Kalehuawehe's project is very special to us because it's our first construction loan. We are working with three other families at Paukukalo as well who are fixing or expanding their homes," added Filimoe'atu, two of whom will also use FHA 247 loans.

Also involved in the project is Central Pacific Bank, which is the construction lender, and Countrywide Home Loans, the permanent lender.

The Bush Administration is actively working to increase affordable housing through programs that include:

  • The American Dream Downpayment Fund, funded at $200 million in fiscal year 2003, to help Americans overcome high down payments;
  • Modernizing and simplifying the homebuying process;
  • Promoting financial education through housing counseling and other related efforts (a $35 million federal investment for fiscal year 2003);
  • The Single-Family Affordable Housing Tax Credit;
  • The Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity (SHOP) Program, funded at $65 million in fiscal year 2003, helping community-based social service providers;
  • Allowing Section 8 housing vouchers to be used for downpayments;
  • Rigorous enforcement of the nation's fair housing laws.

Tomorrow, on the final day of his trip to Hawaii, Liu will be in Honolulu to announce the creation of two new programs that will also help meet the housing needs of Native Hawaiians.

HUD is committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.


Content Archived: April 9, 2010

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