Photo: Robin Puanani Danner

Homestead leaders at SCHHA and our nonprofit, the Homestead Community Development Corporation (HCDC), have partnered with 1st Tribal Lending to increase access to home loan capital on Hawaiian home lands. It’s a first-time partnership, where homestead leaders are taking greater kuleana to bringing solutions to homestead families and especially those on the waitlist to buy, build or renovate homes.

Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations

As a national lender, 1st Tribal Lending specializes in the HUD 184 home loan program authorized by the U.S. Congress under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA). HUD 184 mortgages only require a 2.25% down payment, have a low interest rate, more favorable terms on mortgage insurance premiums than many other types of mortgages, and are uniquely designed to serve Native trust land areas. The loan program was specifically authorized to meet the needs of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians to purchase homes, to renovate homes, to build homes and to refinance existing mortgages.

“This initiative with Hawaiians is a very important effort for 1st Tribal Lending,” said Juel Burnette, a Sicangu Lakota tribal member with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and 1st Tribal Lending Branch Manager. “We know that access to capital in Indian Country is paramount to our success as Indian people, and this effort makes sure that Hawaiians have more and more options to access capital on their trust lands too.”

Mortgage loan application assistance will be available at HCDC starting June 1, 2020, staffed by its loan fund team. HCDC is a Native Community Development Financial Institution (Native CDFI) with expertise on the Hawaiian home land trust, already making consumer, business, farming and ranching loans on homesteads.

“This is pretty exciting,” said Iwalani McBrayer, HCDC nonprofit board chairwoman. “As HHCA (Hawaiian Homes Commission Act) beneficiaries, we are building our own capacity, being proactive and providing on-the-ground solutions to the needs of our families – it’s really the work of self-determination.”

For more information, email info@hawaiianhomesteads.org to explore the loan pre-qualification process, and to engage with HCDC and 1st Tribal Lending to take steps toward greater family stability, whether on a residential, farm or ranch lot.

Founded in 1987, SCHHA is the oldest and largest HHCA beneficiary organization serving trust lands statewide and is governed by an elected council serving 4-year terms. Founded in 2009, HCDC is dedicated to affordable housing, economic development on or near Hawaiian Home Lands, and is governed by enrolled members of the SCHHA.


A national policy advocate for Native self-governance, Danner is the elected Chair of the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations, the oldest and largest coalition of native Hawaiians on or waiting for Hawaiian Home Lands. Born on Kauaʻi, Danner grew up in Niumalu, and the homelands of the Navajo, Hopi and Inuit peoples. She and her husband raised 4 children on homesteads in Anahola, Kauaʻi where they continue to reside today.