Photo: Cedric Duarte

Most of us are not taught the basics of money management while in school and many families fail to engage in open conversations about how money can work for, and sometimes against, us. In many settings, the notion of discussing credits cards, savings, mortgages or investments can be categorized as impolite.

If we aren’t taught how to use money in school and we don’t discuss money amongst family and friends, then where do we get our information and how do we know if we’re making sound decisions that set us up for future financial success?

These questions were considered when the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands elected to revamp its HALE program with expanded financial support services for DHHL beneficiaries.

Established by the Department in 2012, the HALE Program sought to aid lessees and Waiting List applicants with financial literacy education. At the time, HALE focused on preventing lease cancellations and preparing families to become first-time home buyers.

While those foundational pieces led to beneficiary success, here in 2020, the HALE Program builds on the original concepts and boasts a suite of added services which include courses on Post-Home Maintenance, Vacant Lot Construction, and the Owner Builder Process.

A Financial Planning 101 class is also being offered to provide strategies that will give families a boost in organizing finances through retirement.

Hawaiian Home Lands: Hawaiian Homes Commission

DHHL has also presented classes on understanding Medicare and Medicaid, as well as on the Affordable Care Act. Lease Cancellation Prevention and Homebuyer Education are still offered as part of the more extensive program.

As we all continue to navigate through the impacts and new environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the expanded HALE program has pivoted to a virtual learning experience with online service. The online courses have already begun. In-person classes will resume once social distancing restrictions are relaxed.

DHHL offers its HALE program free of charge to all of its beneficiaries in an effort to create financially healthy households.

The Nānākuli Housing Corporation and Helen N. Wai, LLC, were selected to host the courses on behalf of the Department.

Those interested in learning more about the services listed above should visit dhhl.hawaii.gov/hale and complete the online form for verification of beneficiary status.