Kauai News

Hawaiian Homestead Nonprofit Purchases Apartment Complex in Līhu‘e

Posted February 21, 2022, 12:00 PM HST ·Updated February 21, 11:38 AM

A number of agencies worked together to purchase an apartment complex in Līhu‘e, marking a first, in fee property ownership and rental housing management by the HCDC Hawaiian homestead nonprofit. PC: HCDC

A Hawaiian homestead nonprofit governed by enrolled members of the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations purchased a 6-unit apartment property in downtown Līhu‘e.

The purchase by the Homestead Community Development Corporation, or HCDC, closed on Jan. 14, marking a first, in fee property ownership and rental housing management by the nonprofit.

“It’s a milestone for sure,” said Robin Puanani Danner, SCHHA chair and HCDC CEO. “We mahalo Jim Gair the seller of the property for his commitment to affordable housing, and for his aloha to the goals of our homestead communities. This is so much more than a real estate transaction. It represents the first time fee property is owned by a Homestead Beneficiary Association defined by the federal government, anywhere in the Hawaiian Islands.”

The acquisition of the Halenani Street Apartments, located at 4277 Halenani St., was financed through First Hawaiian Bank through a conventional commercial real-estate loan and an affordable housing investment instrument provided by the regional nonprofit, the Rural Community Assistance Corporation, or RCAC.

“Financing is vital to solving Hawai‘i’s affordable housing challenges, especially on neighbor islands and rural areas of the state,” said Kara Chow, HCDC deputy director. “RCAC along with Larry Dressler at First Hawaiian Bank, were incredible on this transaction. We are local owners of a rental project serving low- to moderate-income residents on the island of Kaua‘i because of their partnership with HCDC.”

HCDC was founded in 2009 by Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations, or SCHHA, leaders to focus on affordable housing and economic development statewide.

Over its 13 year history, HCDC has built homes for low- to moderate-income families, built economic-boosting projects including community and youth facilities, an open air marketplace and certified kitchen, all connected to creating jobs. Until the Halenani Street Apartments project, all of HCDC’s projects were located on Hawaiian Home Lands.

“This is the first off-tribal lands property to be owned by the SCHHA through our homestead nonprofit,” remarked Kipukai Kualii, the SCHHA Policy Committee chair. “Hawai‘i will always be our home – acquiring this property keeps it in local control and makes sure the rental units stay within HUD prescribed affordable rates for Kaua‘i residents. Solving affordable housing in our state, is our kuleana too, we intend to implement affordable housing rental projects in every county across the state – this is just our first!”

A blessing of the Halenani Street Apartments is planned for March 26, on the 151st birthday of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole, champion of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the federal law creating tribal lands in Hawai‘i, with a federal codified definition of Homestead Beneficiary Associations, like the SCHHA.

For more information about the Halenani Street Apartments, contact HCDC at info@hawaiianhomesteads.org.

The acquisition of the Halenani Street Apartments, located at 4277 Halenani St., was financed through First Hawaiian Bank. PC: HCDC
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