Beneficiary Leaders Work to Bring Relief to Homesteaders


Homestead Beneficiary Association (HBA) leaders from across the state through our Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Association’s (SCHHA’s) Homestead Community Development Corporation (HCDC) are brainstorming and fundraising to organize and build relief efforts on our trust lands for all those affected by the Maui and Hawaiʻi Island wildfires.

We are committed to building an emergency response and relief infrastructure across our statewide organization to engage and activate our member homesteaders on this and all future emergency disasters impacting our communities.

Founded in 2009, HCDC is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to affordable housing, economic development and capacity-building on or near Hawaiian Home Lands.

For the first time in our nearly 40-year history, we’ve opened a Disaster Relief Division bringing on an Oʻahu-based manager and two coordinators on Maui. Oʻahu will be central to supporting multi-agency logistics and on-the-ground coordination on Maui will be critical to ensuring our homestead associations have the support they need.

Our first Homestead Disaster Relief Manager is Iwalani McBrayer who will work with our homestead leaders to identify two others to join our team on Maui as soon as possible. McBrayer is president of the Kaupeʻa Hawaiian Homestead Association in Kapolei and has a strong record of partnership with many different organizations in service to our homestead communities. I’m confident she will do a great job and appreciate her stepping up to fill this role for SCHHA.

Our HCDC Board is strongly committed to partnering with the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and others to pursue short- and long- term strategies, projects and programs to help bring relief and support to our families and everyone impacted by these horrible disasters.

Subject to HCDC Board final authorization, we are positioned to engage through a three-pronged approach: 1. Immediate Crisis Response. Facilitate access to financial aid and/or technical assistance on applications for FEMA and other direct aid to Hawaiian families experiencing housing or job displacement; 2. Short Term Response. Build, capitalize and operate temporary kauhale villages that includes housing shelters, social service food and hygiene hubs and other immediate needs serving Hawaiian families experiencing housing or job displacement; and 3. Long Term Response. Support empowerment of Homestead Associations through rebuilding efforts that advances the tenets of the Hawaiian Home Land trust.

With the help of Waiehu Kou Homestead Association President Daniel Ornellas, we’ve identified up to 7 acres in Waiehu to potentially direct our nonprofit resources in partnership with DHHL to quickly develop one or more emergency response kauhale villages and related support services.

Leveraging our trust lands during this crisis aptly expands the legacy of our beloved Prince Kūhiō. A mercantile land award would allow us to be a vital part of the response that’s so critically needed. We know that with our homesteaders’ collective engagement, resources and energy, we can develop small parcels of our trust lands into places of refuge, hope and promise for those impacted and many others.

Coordinating with partners, with government and with the private sector requires time and attention. We’re investing in new dedicated positions to make sure our homestead leaders and residents get the resources they need and have a way to communicate their priorities. This ensures we will be in a stronger position to respond more swiftly with our support in the future. Please join me in sending the strongest aloha to everyone affected, as well as to everyone helping!

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