Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA), in partnership with national partner, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), has launched the nation’s first statewide network of Financial Opportunity Centers (FOC) that will serve our Hawai‘i communities. These FOCs are offering tailored services designed to help participants secure living wage jobs, build credit, reduce debt, and gain wealth!
Caitlin Cain, Vice President of Rural LISC states, “During a critical national economic turning point, the FOC model is more important than ever. Supporting families learn how to change their financial behavior in ways that increase income, decrease expenses, and help acquire assets is what our communities need to recover from the COVID crisis. This program is transformational and we’re excited to see HCA expanding reach across the Hawaiian Islands, helping thousands of individuals and families improve financial and employment opportunities.”
The new HCA-operated Financial Opportunity Center in Wailuku targets and serves residents living in both our urban and rural communities. In partnership with the County of Maui and Hawai‘i and Community Foundation, HCA has made good on its envisioned strategy. “Hawaiian Community Assets is a trusted partner delivering financial literacy services and homeownership counseling to Hawaii’s families,” said Micah Kāne, President and CEO of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation. “By partnering with LISC and having a statewide network of FOCs, the organization is ensuring that more of Hawaii’s families will have access to services that can build their wealth, and ensure a thriving life, right here in Hawai‘i.”
The FOC focuses on housing and financial counseling for local residents. They provide families with services across three areas: employment services; financial education and coaching; and public benefits access. The core services provide a multi-approach to income and wealth building, with data showing that clients receiving this integrated approach through the FOC model more likely to be employed year-round, reduce non asset-related debt, build a positive credit history, and be employed longer.
HCA plans to enhance the service and product offerings at its FOCs by partnering with local organizations in each of the Counties. For example, an agreement with the University of Hawai‘i is being pursued to increase residents’ access to living wage jobs through their Career and Technical Education programming. In addition, loans and mortgage assistance will be provided to FOC clients by Hawai‘i Community Lending, HCA’s nonprofit subsidiary U.S. Department of Treasury certified community development financial institution.
The Maui FOC’s goal is to help 3,000 Maui residents and families in qualifying for affordable rentals and mortgage financing over the next three years. “This is a critical opportunity, at a most pressing time to support our local people in becoming and remaining financially stable,” said HCA Executive Director, Jeff Gilbreath. “Over the last 20 years, our organization’s focus has been on building the capacity of our communities to achieve and sustain economic self-sufficiency. The FOC model represents a major next step to advance that work in communities throughout the Hawaiian Islands for the next 20 years and beyond.”
If you are interested in receiving services, please visit www.HawaiianCommunity.net and click the tab “client intake.” The office is located at 24 N. Church Street, Suite 210, Wailuku. In-person appointments (with proper social distancing) can also be made by calling 727-8870 or email email@example.com for more information.
Image Credit: MauiCounty.us