Changing lives, one home at a time
Neighbors: Profiles of our community
“I want to buy a house, but I just can’t afford it.”
It’s something Alan Lloyd hears far too often — and it makes his heart sink every time.
“I meet so many hardworking people who are not able to buy a home,” he said. Apart from providing stability and security, he said, “Homeownership is way to pass on a legacy to your kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews.”
That’s why the retired acupuncturist became a member of and volunteer for Na Hale O Maui, a nonprofit that puts affordable homeownership within reach of Maui County residents by securing and preserving a permanent supply of affordable housing alternatives for low- and moderate-income households. Established in 2006, the volunteer- and membership-based organization is Hawaii’s first community land trust (there are now more than 250 in the United States) and has made the dream of homeownership come true for 34 families — and counting.
Lloyd is a firm believer in the community land trust model.
“This is the best way to make housing affordable,” he said. Fifteen years ago, when housing prices started to rise in his hometown of Seattle, Lloyd began to see more people priced out of the market. Deeply troubled by the growing trend, he signed up to volunteer for a Seattle-based community land trust and has since become an ardent proponent of affordable housing.
When Lloyd, now a Wailuku resident, learned about Na Hale O Maui, he immediately joined its membership roster. He volunteers weekly, helping out with grant reports and using his spreadsheet skills to compile donor lists.
“I’ll do whatever I can do to help, because this is something I’m very passionate about,” he said.
For many, homeownership is an uphill — and at times, seemingly unwinnable — battle. That’s where community land trusts like Na Hale O Maui step in to help.
Here’s a quick overview of how it works: A community land trust separates the value of a house from the value of the land underneath and around it; it sells only the house and retains ownership of the land in trust forever. The homeowner has exclusive use of the land — known as sustainable leasehold property — which can be inherited by family members. The cost of the land is reduced or eliminated, which makes the house more affordable, while also ensuring long-term stability and security for the homeowner.
In 2017, Na Hale O Maui purchased 12 of the 68 lots in the Kahoma Homes subdivision in Lahaina, a 100 percent workforce housing project developed by West Maui Land Co. The nonprofit built and is now starting to sell 12 three- and four-bedroom homes to its qualified buyers. For this and other projects, prospective homeowners must meet eligibility requirements and complete Na Hale O Maui’s four-step program to be added to the list of qualified homebuyers.
The nonprofit will host a free homebuyer seminar from 9 to 10:15 a.m. March 28 (registration begins at 8:45 a.m.) at the J. Walter Cameron Center in Wailuku. Space is limited and all attendees must RSVP in advance. The adults-only seminar will cover the fundamentals of community land trust homeownership, the basics of securing the right mortgage, and the four steps to owning a community land trust home (attending the seminar is the first of the four steps).
For more information about Na Hale O Maui, to inquire about membership or donor opportunities or to register for the seminar on March 28, visit www.nahaleomaui.org, email email@example.com or call 244-6110. To learn more about the Kahoma Homes subdivision, visit www.nahaleomaui.org/kahoma-homes.
* Sarah Ruppenthal is a Maui-based writer. Do you have an interesting neighbor? Tell us about them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Neighbors and “The State of Aloha,” written by Ben Lowenthal, alternate Fridays.