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Kekaha Homesteads awarded HUD grant

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KEKAHA, Hawaii – First came the homes and now comes the economic development for the Kekaha Homestead.

On Nov. 17 The Kekaha Hawaiian Homestead Association (KHHA), Kauai Community College (KCC) and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) announced a partnership to construct a Kekaha Enterprise Center on homesteads.

The homesteads were awarded a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant in the amount of $794,728, the collaboration is focused on constructing the only community facility located inside the Kekaha Homestead and delivering financial literacy and small business training.

Chuck Ramsey, KCC dean of instruction and Robin Puanani Danner, CNHA president and CEO, will lead the three-year project.

“With 50 new homes constructed in Kekaha by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) in recent years, we began to talk about economic development and job creation strategies in Kekaha,” said Danner. “The collaboration with the local community college, HUD and DHHL, really makes innovative projects possible - we are very excited to be working together.”

CNHA, a community development nonprofit, and KCC applied for funding under the Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Institutions Assisting Communities (AN/NHIAC) grant program in July and received notification of the award in September. A HUD program supported by Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-HW, in 2000, the AN/NHIAC brings academic and higher educational institutions together with community-based organizations to identify and develop solutions to community needs.

“This is a miracle for our community,” said Leah Perreira, a homesteader and board member of the KHHA. “Working with KCC and CNHA, to help our youth attain jobs right here at home is what we want to achieve, and this grant provides a very good beginning.”

On Jan. 9 and 10, CNHA will host a Grants Forum on Hawaii island where it will provide more information on the AN/NHIAC grant program as well as many other local and federal funding opportunities. Participants will have a chance to hear from funders and successful grantees.

CNHA is a national community development nonprofit, with 91 members in its network. Its mission is to enhance the well-being of Hawaii through the cultural, economic and community development of Native Hawaiians. CNHA operates programming in asset-building, policy advocacy, leadership development and grant training.

For more information about the Kekaha Enterprise Center or the 2009 CNHA Grants Forum on Hawaii island, call (808) 596-8155 (from Oahu), (800) 709-2642 (from neighbor islands), e-mail info@hawaiiancouncil.org, or visit www.hawaiiancouncil.org.