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Agency has help for Native Hawaiian farmers

WAILUKU — Hawaiian Community Assets is aiming to fill a critical need in the community with a new financial-assistance program for Native Hawaiian farmworkers.

Farmers are encouraged to apply and receive practical help in a variety of areas.

Among other possible benefits, applicants to the program may: get help to qualify for rental and mortgage loans; access loans up to $100,000 for homebuying costs (income and other program restrictions apply); qualify for up to $11,500 in grant funds for home purchase; and learn about HCA’s grants for first month’s rent/deposit up to $4,000.

Through the program, Native Hawaiian farmers will receive free tools and training from HCA’s certified counselors.

Tools include career coaching, assistance with monthly budget planning, child care finance match, and more — all designed to help farmers qualify for financial assistance.

“Native Hawaiian farmworkers are typically underserved when it comes to finding financial support and opportunities,” said Jeff Gilbreath, HCA executive director.

“We intend to change that with our goal of reaching 100 farmworkers in the next two months.”

HCA is reaching out to Hawai‘i Farm Bureau and its 11 county chapters and Hawai‘i Farmers Union United and its 12 county chapters.

The Native Hawaiian Farmers program is open to all ages statewide, and the deadline to register is Sept. 30.

The program is part of a series of targeted plans that HCA offers for renters, homeowners, families and now farmers.

With Financial Opportunity Centers on Maui, O‘ahu, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island, HCA provides benefits such as financial/renter education workshops, individualized housing counseling and access to financial products.

HCA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, a U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development-approved housing-counseling agency and community-lending institution. HCA builds the capacity of low- and moderate-income families to achieve and sustain economic self-sufficiency, with a particular focus on Native Hawaiians.

To apply, contact HCA’s Financial Opportunity Center in Anahola, 808-632-2070, or visit hawaiiancommunity.net.
Source: The Garden Island

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