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Turning Hope Into Homeownership

When Jonelle Tsunezumi walked into the Hawaii Home- Ownership Center (HHOC) four years ago, she had a dream of owning a home in Kapolei for her and her four young children.

To get started on that dream, she took homebuyer education classes and left feeling knowledgeable and empowered. HHOC instructor Dale Tomei presented Tsunezumi with the necessary steps she would need to take toward homeownership, as well as provided relevant personal examples and good financial tips.

One notable piece of advice came from a “stop card” that Tsunezumi received at the end of a money management class. The card had a photo of a beautiful home on one side and the message, “Stop! Think about it before you spend!” on the other. She put this in her wallet and it served as a reminder every time she considered making a purchase.

Additionally, individual coaching sessions with Reina Miyamoto helped Tsunezumi create a personal plan toward homeownership. She learned about different loan options and received an outline of the steps needed to attain a home. When she was ready to enter the buying process, she was confident and felt HHOC had prepared her for everything.

Tsunezumi is now a happy homeowner who recently moved into a brand new home in Kapolei, the community she dreamed of living in when she first came to HHOC. Everything her family needs is within walking distance and the community is very kid-friendly.

The concepts taught by HHOC are forever integrated into how Tsunezumi manages homeownership expenses. She even started teaching her children about saving in their piggy banks for their own purchase goals. Best of all, Tsunezumi is proud to have attained homeownership on her own.

“It’s the greatest feeling to provide a home for my four children,” she shared.

Tsunezumi’s achievement in homeownership has led to a positive outlook on her future. She plans to pursue a doctorate’s degree after she completes her master’s degree, and hopes to one day open her own business.

Tsunezumi still has the “stop card” from the money management class, but it’s no longer in her wallet — it’s on her new refrigerator as a reminder of her journey. She hopes other first-time homebuyers will become HHOC members. “(Buying a home) is scary, but possible. HHOC will provide more than education — they will provide the support and encouragement for you to attain your goals,” she said.

Are you ready to take your first step toward homeownership? Contact HHOC at 523-9500 or Visit online at

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