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News Release

Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations

Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands

The Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA) and the waitlist Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands (AHHL) have launched a working group on the recent $600 million appropriation to Hawaiian Home Lands. The two coalitions representing the interests of eligible beneficiaries for an allotment of residential, farm, ranch and mercantile lands, begin work on a strategic plan required by the legislature.

In the appropriation legislation, a strategic plan is mandated to be issued to the legislature by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) by December 10, 2022, only days after the next governor is sworn into office.

“There’s no time to waste,” said Mike Kahikina, Chairman of Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands serving the interests of 28,000 on the State government waitlist. “We will not wait, thousands of us have died waiting, we must simultaneously put together the ‘Beneficiary’s Strategic Plan’. Our families have been most impacted and continue to have everything to lose.”

The  Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations Policy Committee is chaired by Kauai waitlister, Kipukai Kualii, also a county council member. 

“We are launching this working group because we know that this level of funding will attract special interests, which may be well intended but have often derailed meaningful solutions, achievable solutions for our people,” Kualii said. “We watch Governors come and go, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Directors come and go, even other organizations in the nonprofit and private sector come and go — we remain, no matter how difficult, systematically doing the work of policy analysis for homesteads, and delivering expert Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA) beneficiary services through two important nonprofits founded by the  Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations in 2009 and 2019. The knowledge of Hawaiians in homesteads and on the waitlist is incredible, we know what the solutions are, we are experts on the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, experts in finance and housing.”

The Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations $600 million Policy Working Group will convene at its first meeting on May 19, 2022, to adopt its work plan, its policy framework and schedule of convenings.

Kualii added, “Hopefully between what the outgoing Department of Hawaiian Home Lands administration puts together and our work this summer, will provide the next Governor and incoming Department of Hawaiian Home Lands leadership a solid foundation for honoring the legislatures good work.”

The $600 million is authorized to be spent on lots, units, subsidies and access to mortgage capital. Aside from the strategic plan deadline of December 10, 2022, the law mandates annual reports to the legislature on how funds are spent, and the number of waitlist Hawaiians assisted. It also requires all funds to be encumbered by June 30, 2025.

“The reporting is proper and shows the interest of this legislature in its oversight duty of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands,” Kahikina remarked, a former state representative. “The short window to encumber that level of funding will definitely impact the reasonableness of any strategic plan, but we are excited to get started on this work.”

For more information, contact policy@hawaiianhomesteads.org.

About Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations and Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands

The Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations and Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands are the 2 largest and most representative policy voices on issues impacting trust lands as defined under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920 (HHCA). Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations founded in 1987, and Association of Hawaiians for Homestead Lands founded in 2008 represent the interests of 10,000 trust land lessees and 28,000 on the waitlist. Each are registered as federally defined homestead associations under 43 CFR Part 47/48 with the Department of Interior.

The Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations founded the Homestead Community Development Corporation (HCDC) in 2009 and Hawaiian Lending & Investments (HLI) in 2019, a Community Development Corporation and CDFI (CDFI) serving Hawaiian Home Lands.

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