Building Homes For Hawaii

By Genie Brown
Wednesday - July 06, 2011 Share

By Genie Brown
Executive Director, Honolulu Habitat for Humanity

Honolulu Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit volunteer organization that builds homes with hardworking families in need. Founded in 1988, we have built 65 homes on Oahu providing more than 350 people the opportunity of homeownership. With the generous support of donors and volunteers, Honolulu Habitat’s mission is to eliminate poverty housing on Oahu by building simple, decent homes.

Honolulu Habitat is an affordable homeownership program serving Oahu families earning 30-60 percent of the area median income. For example, a family of four earning less than $59,580 may not qualify for a traditional mortgage, but may be eligible for a Habitat home. Honolulu Habitat provides a hand up, not a handout. Our partner families are selected through an application process and qualify based on their need for improved living conditions, an ability to pay for their home and a willingness to partner. Each family is required to complete “sweat equity” hours in our office or on another Habitat home before they can even begin construction on their home. Hundreds of volunteers skilled and unskilled donate their time to construct homes, working alongside the partner families. Homes are sold to families through a no-interest, 20-year mortgage.

Honolulu Habitat volunteers construct a home in Waialua during the 2010 Build-A-Thon. Photo by Norman Shapiro

Honolulu Habitat’s challenges include the scarcity of land, identifying the families that need our assistance and the constant need for construction funds. In support of our two newest projects, Habitat is hosting our biggest fundraiser of the year, Build-A-Thon, Aug. 11-13 in Waimanalo and in Papakolea. Individuals and team volunteers can participate in a four-hour shift on one of these workdays and work alongside our newest partner families. Each participant is asked to collect a minimum of $250 in pledges, which will help fund our building efforts throughout the year. Company and team sponsorships are available.

For more information about Build-AThon, to learn more about becoming a partner family, or to become a Habitat volunteer, visit our website at or call our office at 5387070.


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