For 100 years now, Aloha United Way has been working with hundreds of companies to help support Hawaii’s communities. One of these critical partnerships is with Honolulu Habitat for Humanity. Together, the two non-profits are creating change in the community by helping families achieve their dreams of home ownership.
“Honolulu Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to work with low income families to build equity within their family and realize their dream of home ownership,” says Jim Murphy, executive director at Honolulu Habitat for Humanity.
Honolulu Habitat for Humanity envisions a world where everyone has a decent place to live. The non-profit hopes to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope for the future. As part of a global nonprofit, it has built and renovated more than 600,000 affordable homes for more than 3 million people. In Hawaii, it has built 80 homes, housing over 400 individuals.
“Through our partnership with Aloha United Way and the ALICE program, we are planning to build 24 more homes for 144 individuals,” Murphy says.
Ona Salis is one of those future homeowners. 27 years ago, his father was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor that put him out of work and unable to provide for his five children.
“We became homeless,” Salis says. “We lived in a horse stable for about a year.”
Their lives suddenly changed when the Department of Hawaiian Homelands said they had a piece of land available. However, Salis says his family just wasn’t financially ready for such a commitment.
“We were not even ready to purchase the front door,” he explains. “That’s where the Department of Hawaiian Homelands introduced us to the Honolulu Habitat for Humanity.”
Salis says Honolulu Habitat for Humanity was essential in getting his family’s home up and running. From providing support and guidance to providing classes on financial management. Today, Salis’ father has beaten the odds and is even helping to build the home.
“The reason everyone should get involved in local organizations like the Honolulu Habitat for Humanity and Aloha United Way is not only because they build homes,” Salis begins. “They build ohana. They teach you how to not only be involved in the community, but prepare yourself to be back in the community.”
Aloha United Way is supported by over 1,500 companies like Kyo-ya Hotels and Resorts, Marriott Waikiki and Enterprise Holdings, along with thousands of donors and volunteers. The goal for this special centennial year is to raise $10 million to support more than 300 local nonprofits and Aloha United Way programs that help the community.