March 2, 2017

Habitat for Humanity on Lanai

Just over a year since ground was broken, Habitat for Humanity’s project on Lanai is nearing completion. The home, built for a grandmother and her three grandchildren, was constructed by Lanai community volunteers and Habitat for Humanity staff from Maui.

According to Habitat for Humanity Maui’s deputy director, Richard Carr, volunteers were essential to the project from the get-go. Most volunteers did not have a construction background, but learned basic building skills to assist the professionals on the worksite.

High school teacher Patricia Niibu volunteered during Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week with 20 other women. The group cleared the ground of the construction site, shoveled dirt, moved lumber and took nails out of boards to prep for the framing of the home.

“I volunteered because I know the family and I like to serve the Lanai community,” says Niibu. “I didn’t have any construction experience but I totally enjoyed it. The program was well-organized and it felt so good working with women who were so eager and willing. We accomplished so much in a short timeframe.”

Individual volunteers and groups participated in different stages of the build throughout the year. Now, the home is in the final stages of completion and an electrician is in the process of wiring the structure.

A Home Takes Shape

Habitat for Humanity follows Maui County building codes and strives to build green when possible. The home on Lanai was constructed using a pre-designed Honsador house kit that comes with the basic materials to construct a home, including:

  • Asphalt tile roof
  • Large windows
  • Big closets
  • Built-in features that allow for appliances

Qualifying for Habitat For Humanity Programs

To qualify for a Habitat for Humanity program, individual applicants or families must meet the following requirements.

  1. Income. Interested applicants must be within the Maui County affordable housing income limit. For example, a family of two needs to have a household income between $19,350 and $51,550.
  2. Property ownership. Individuals or families who qualify for a Habitat for Humanity program must own the property where the home will be built, and contribute a 1 percent down payment. The cost of the mortgage is calculated as the raw cost of the materials of the home and the fee for one project manager who must be on site.
  3. Monthly payments. At the start of construction, homeowners are required to make monthly payments with 0 percent interest to Habitat for Humanity – the mortgage holder. These payments go towards a revolving fund that pays for the next Habitat for Humanity project.
  4. Volunteer. Qualifying families must also contribute 500 hours of volunteer work, either on the site of the build, or if they can’t serve on site, they may volunteer at Habitat for Humanity’s Restore, with affiliate partners, or at fundraising events.

Programs Offered by Habitat For Humanity

Habitat for Humanity Maui currently offers two programs, a full home build, like the one Lanai, and a second program called, “A Brush with Kindness.” The Brush with Kindness program assists families with making critical repairs to a home so that they may continue to live in it safely.

“This option is another avenue through which we can keep families together,” notes Carr. “But sometimes, like the first project on Lanai, it is more cost effective to tear down the original structure and rebuild.”

A Brush with Kindness program can be more accessible for some families, especially those who do not have access to land. Habitat for Humanity also serves families living with disabilities, and coordinates projects to meet American Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

What’s in Store for Habitat For Humanity on Lanai?

The Habitat For Humanity Maui team is excited to grow its partnership with the Lanai community and encourages residents to learn more about the programs it offers. In 2017, the organization will offer Lanai residents free homeowner education classes and credit counseling services. These classes educate potential homeowners on living within a budget and retiring comfortably.

“A lot of our families have never owned a home before. Habitat teaches them how a house is built and our courses empower them to stay on top of their budget,” explains Carr.

Click here to learn more about Habitat for Humanity Maui.

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