Friday, July 25, 2014         


 Print   Email   Comment | View 17 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

New home gathers dust

DHHL has not been able to find a beneficiary to buy the Kauai property despite a wait list thousands deep

By Rob Perez

LAST UPDATED: 04:34 p.m. HST, Feb 12, 2014

A new Kauai home that was completed two years ago through a self-help program sits empty and boarded up, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has yet to get a buyer into the four-bedroom dwelling.

Even as thousands of beneficiaries on Kauai remain on a wait list for residential homesteads, the vacant Anahola house with cherry-stained cabinetry, tiled floors and sweeping ocean views has become a testament to the flaws plaguing the agency's system for placing families in available homes, according to some beneficiaries.

Many of the vacant homes are old and often need considerable repair work.

This one, however, was built two years ago by beneficiary families participating in a DHHL-funded, self-help affordable housing program run by the nonprofit Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

The families built 12 homes in Anahola through the program, and the first 11 were purchased by them for $158,000 each — the cost to build each one, according to Robin Danner, then-chief executive of the council.

But the final home, which was completed around August 2011, has yet to have its first owner.

After the beneficiary originally selected to buy the 12th home couldn't qualify for the mortgage, the council started marketing the unit for $234,000, the appraised value, with the expected proceeds to be plowed back into the program to build more homes, Danner said. Ten other homes were constructed on Oahu through the program.

DHHL, however, told the council to discontinue marketing the Anahola home in 2011 and to pull the for-sale sign from the property, and the agency sought buyers on its own, Danner said.

Asked why the home has gone unoccupied for so long, DHHL spokesman Puni Chee recounted the history of the property, including the inability to find a qualified buyer, and said the agency is getting the home reappraised, inspected and surveyed so it can be offered for sale.

After the original deal fell through and with no buyer in hand prior to construction, DHHL had instructed the council not to build the home, Chee said in written responses to the Star-Advertiser.

When DHHL learned that the home was being constructed anyway, the agency started looking for a buyer but couldn't find one, he added.

Chee disagreed with the notion that the prolonged vacancy of the Anahola home demonstrated a need to reform DHHL's buyer-selection process.

Jeff Gilbreath, executive director of Hawaiian Community Assets, a financial counseling service, said his agency presented DHHL with a qualified buyer two years ago. But the department told Hawaiian Community that DHHL needed to check whether other beneficiaries ahead of her on the wait list could qualify, he said.

"We have heard nothing from DHHL, and the home stays vacant," Gilbreath wrote in an email.

Danner said the home has remained empty because DHHL hasn't made it a priority and has not assigned a specific staff member to pursue a sale.

If DHHL wanted to, it could sell the house for less than the appraised value but more than what the home cost to build, expanding the pool of wait-list beneficiaries who potentially could qualify to purchase the home, she added.


Neglected Properties

 Print   Email   Comment | View 17 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
awahana wrote:
What about closing down the DHHL and get a Real Estate management company. I bet that would make things happen. Profits aren't ignored by private entities, unlike gov't workers, who really don't care where their paycheck comes from.
on October 13,2013 | 03:07AM
Mythman wrote:
The Homestead Associations would do a better job but then not only the DHHL would crush them but so would the City and County governments crush them.The ali'i trusts don't have problems with local government - local government bows to the royal trusts.
on October 13,2013 | 04:01AM
palani wrote:
Why are DHHL homes ever being sold for "market value" instead of cost? It's not like this is a private development agency relying on sales for a profit-oriented operation, and "market value" is an economic concept irrelevant to its core mission.
on October 13,2013 | 04:52AM
allie wrote:
DHHL is a failure and was meant to fail
on October 13,2013 | 09:01AM
Wazdat wrote:
FIRE these clowns and get some COMPETENT people working in that department. WHAT A SHAME
on October 13,2013 | 05:34AM
allie wrote:
why does the incompetence continue decade after decade.
on October 13,2013 | 09:01AM
Shotzy wrote:
Is DHHL sustainable without the 30 million a year payment that ends next year ? The lackadaisical approach by the board currently demonstrated is woefully insufficient and boarders on incompetence. Without this yearly influx [40% of yearly revenue] and without a plan to replace it, It only seems to be inefficient now. Just wait.
on October 13,2013 | 06:05AM
Bully wrote:
Puni Chee, who made you the fall guy for the Deparment, the responsibility should be with the Director Jobie Masagatani. Jobie at least try to do some good while you are there. I know you cant do much with the Abercrombie Administration but at least get one thing done and get these vacant houses to new leases. Can you at least do that?
on October 13,2013 | 09:01AM
mille1dog wrote:
Mr. Perez is not telling the complete the story. He is one sided in his story telling...not very good journalism. I wonder why most of the pilikia is coming from this Danner lady. Why doesn't he research her intentions and history? Her organization was told not to build the last house by DHHL because their qualified buyer dropped out and they still continued...what audacity. They should have listened until another qualified buyer was identified, then build. Then that house would not be sitting empty today. CNHA is responsible for the pilikia on that last house.
on October 13,2013 | 09:18AM
Too_Much_Pilikia wrote:
It takes two years to find another qualified Hawaiian buyer? Testimony to the incompetency and ineptness of DHHL. Auwe to you self serving leeches!
on October 13,2013 | 10:04AM
allie wrote:
Hawaiians love ripping off other Hawaiians and perez is right: it is sad to see
on October 13,2013 | 03:12PM
jmarie wrote:
Oh Mille you can see the snake in the forest. If only more people could really open there eye's they would see how much money Danner has sucked from the Hawaiian community. Danner is dangerous!
on October 14,2013 | 10:45AM
false wrote:
You're not buying a house you can own and resell to anyone...you're on leasehold and you can only sell to someone with 50% or more hawaiian blood. This is a bad deal, with a bad manager, having a bad set of rules and regulations to follow. This system is broke and Hawaiians are being treated badly. Kinda like plantation workers.
on October 13,2013 | 11:56AM
808noelani wrote:
Two years and a qualified buyer still not found? DHHL still checking if other beneficiaries ahead of her on the wait list could qualify? Is DHHL still checking?
on October 13,2013 | 11:57AM
pueouhane wrote:
Why build a home after being told not to? Why did the buyer have to renegotiate a new price after qualifying earlier at a much lower price and not mentioned here? Yes, DHHL has it issues by why all of sudden miss Danner, a controversial character herself, dominates the latest newsprint here but when questions and accusations about her are raised, this reporter goes underwater.Smells fishy.
on October 14,2013 | 04:39PM
pueouhane wrote:
Also, why is those homes called self-help when little or no help was given? Carrying a few rugs,cleaning a almost cleaned yard, and some menial touch-up painting/puttying does not qualify. Dear investigative writer, do tell me, what qualifies?
on October 14,2013 | 04:51PM
Nana1 wrote:
Amusing to watch a handful of people blame Danner. Here we have a State Agency with almost 100 years of mismanagement of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust and of course - it's probably Danner. The only truth I have learned about that woman is that she is hard working. Every accusation made has turned up inaccurate. Do the homework. A research of her intentions and history reveal she is an intelligent business woman with the will and stamina to stay focused on doing good for Hawaiians. Perhaps those who down Danner should self evaluate. What are your own intentions? What have you done? Why does her progress frustrate you? The problem with the vacant home is not that the home was built. DHHL has a long waitlist - no excuses on why the home can't be awarded. Don't accept lame excuses - enough already. Blaming Danner doesn't correct the decades of DHHL mismanagement. Trying to put this on her is like DHHL not acknowledging there is a problem. Danner is brave enough to talk about the issues and continues to offer solutions regardless of those who trash her. Maybe she should run DHHL - she would clean house!
on October 23,2013 | 03:24PM