Homestead Leaders Visit Community Partners in Maryland


A few months ago, four Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA) leaders went to Maryland for a Mid-Atlantic-Hawaiʻi Exchange with Enterprise Community Partners (aka Enterprise).

Our SCHHA cohort included Kammy Purdy from Molokaʻi, Kainoa MacDonald from Maui, Jordyn Danner from Kauaʻi and me. Our three community partner hosts from Enterprise were Evelyn Immonen, program officer from their Tribal Nations and Rural Division, Jennie Rodgers, vice president mountain, from the same division; and, Ben Hyman, senior operations manager of Enterprise Community Development (ECD).

Day one started with an overview of Enterprise by Ben. We also met and heard from several other Enterprise representatives about their work in areas like asset management, project development and property management. We visited four different affordable housing projects: Legacy at Twin Rivers, Ranleagh Court, Waverly Winds and Hickory Ridge. It was especially interesting to see the different types of units and common areas, as well as to hear from the onsite managers and staff. One project was much older and slated for demolition and rebuild. Another was brand new and still in the final stages of construction.

Day two started with a training on development and philanthropic funding by Enterprise VP of Development Tammy Garlow. She taught us about the fundraising cycle, types of grants, understanding audiences and identifying opportunities, stressing the importance of building relationships and trust. At our request, she also spoke about philanthropic giving and high net worth individual investors (HNWI). We learned HNWIs are mostly self-made individuals who support education, social services and arts, culture and the humanities, and that trust and aligned values are key to them.

We also had a pro-forma spreadsheet training with Jennie and a brainstorming strategic planning session with Evelyn. We learned that pro-forma is a tool for overall financial feasibility of a project. We used a spreadsheet model with real data from our Anahola 4-Plex Affordable Rentals project. It was revealing to see how different data inputs affected the bottom line instantly. Our brainstorming session compiled input from our SCHHA leaders in key areas like supporting affordable housing for homesteaders including rentals, supporting small businesses, increasing food sovereignty by supporting agriculture, and investing in our homestead facilities and infrastructure.

Day three started with a site visit to affordable housing project, Hollins Station, led by Janelle Dow Summers, Enterprise’s senior property manager. We also visited Enterprise’s Baltimore office and toured their historic headquarters, a modern open-concept, team-centered layout with old-world charm and historical photographs from when the building was a garment factory. We lunched in their conference room along with several of their top leaders including their Interim President Christine Madigan and Enterprise Residential President Gayle Filo. It was wonderful to experience how community-minded they were and how genuinely interested they were in our work and our struggle. Although I had to leave early, the rest of our team finished the day with a visit to a newer project in Baltimore called Metro Heights.

We are forever grateful to Enterprise for the opportunity, and we re-dedicate ourselves to working tirelessly to bring about more affordable housing opportunities for our Hawaiian homestead families and everyone else in need.