Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Message for the Department of Native Hawaiian Homelands Keaukaha Key Project

The housing needs faced by our Native Hawaiian community, and by Native communities nationwide, are among the worst in the country, making it increasingly difficult for families with limited resources to find a safe place to live, put food on the table, and make basic ends meet. Hawai‘i’s severe affordable housing shortage, combined with the soaring cost of living in the islands, has made it impossible for many families who have lived in Hawai‘i for generations to buy, or even rent a home. Each year, thousands of Hawai‘i residents leave because they can no longer afford to live in our state.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) is working to reverse this trend and empower local families through projects like DHHL Packaged Home Financing pilot program. Today, we celebrate this program’s latest success and welcome two new homeowners and their families in to their new homes at Keaukaha. These two homes will hopefully be the first of many in Keaukaha, Kalama‘ula, Ho‘olehua, Pi‘ilani Mai Ke Kai, Kawaihae, Kaka‘ina, Waiohuli and Discovery Harbor.

It is incumbent upon the United States Congress to continue to support programs like the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA), which since 1996 has strengthened indigenous self-determination and empowered Native people by addressing affordable housing needs. In Hawai'i, NAHASDA has increased homeownership among Native Hawaiians, brought hope to many people who are living paycheck to paycheck and helped to remove roadblocks to economic success. As a result, increases in affordable homeownership are also helping to increase preschool enrollment, early education proficiency and graduation rates, reduce crime rates, lower healthcare disparities, and more.

Mahalo nui loa to DHHL, its beneficiaries and private industry partners, HPM Building Supply, and everyone whose minds and hands have worked together in this exceptional endeavor to expand affordable housing opportunities to our Native Hawaiian community on Hawaiʻi Island, and beyond. Your efforts and hard work are a perfect example of what can be achieved when we are motivated to serve with aloha. Best wishes for your continued success!

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