Hawaii HomeOwnership Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary and 1,000th Homeowner
When the Hawaii HomeOwnership Center celebrated its 10th anniversary on October 24, the occasion was also an opportunity to recognize their 1,000th client, a couple who became “successful homeowners” after completing the HHOC program.
HHOC Executive Director Dennis Oshiro said the couple had attended classes and participated in one-on-one counseling sessions for a little over a year. “The ‘pathway to homeownership’ our counselors mapped out for them included financial advice that resulted in their paying off $10,000 in debts and saving an additional $15,000 for a down payment. Usually getting your financial house in order is the first big step toward your first home, in this case a two bedroom condo in the McCully area. Approximately 60 percent of our clients, who actually become ‘lifetime members’ of HHOC, fall into the low to moderate income category. So the goal is to get them qualified for mortgage financing. We find that many of our clients come to us as a result of a referral by a lender and sometimes an employer. Many of our members come to us discouraged after being turned down for a mortgage. The fact is that there are affordable starter homes out there. With the good information and encouragement supplied by our counselors and perseverance and commitment on the part of the client, the goal of homeownership can be achieved.”
HHOC held its anniversary celebration at the Pacific Club just ten years after the organization was officially incorporated in October of 2003. The event was attended by both the 1,000th and 500th clients as well as the organization’s founders, board members, supporters, officers, and staff.
The non-profit corporation is a partner agency of the Aloha United Way, a HUD-approved counseling agency, and a charter affiliate of NeighborWorks America. Its mission statement is “To educate individuals, empower families, and transform communities one homeowner at a time.”
In 2008 HHOC moved into its present offices at 1259 Aala Street, #201. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. when staff members are available to meet with potential clients to discuss their individual needs. At the time of enrollment in the program a one-time, lifetime membership fee of $60 is charged. “Our members can always come back to us in the future for refresher courses or post-purchase advice at no charge,” Oshiro said.
Additional information can be obtained by calling the Hawaii
Homeownership Center at 523-9500 or by accessing the website www.hihomeownership.org.