The Pūnāwai Program is a statewide Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA)-funded program that assists Native Hawaiian beneficiaries with services designed to help individuals and families stabilize their living situations/lives and work towards self-sufficiency in the future. Those services include asset incentives (“Individual Development Accounts”, which is a savings match program), financial literacy/education, emergency financial assistance, and information and referral/linkages to other needed community resources. Helping Hands Hawaii is the lead on the contract, and providing direct services on Oahu. We are partnering with Catholic Charities Hawaii to provide the same services for the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai and also partnering with Hawaiian Community Assets who is managing the Individual Development Account (IDA) savings match component for this statewide collaboration.
On Oahu, in order to access this service, please contact our Pūnāwai Program Intake Line at 440-3804 to be screened for eligibility.
Our general eligibility requirements are as follows:
- Must be Native Hawaiian (and provide proper verification of ancestry) – Per OHA, accepted verification of Hawaiian ancestry includes: Birth certificate, OHA Hawaiian Registry enrollment verification, DHHL verification, and Kamehameha Schools verification.
- Must be within 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii – To verify this eligibility requirement, and to assess income and expenditure information as it relates to requests for emergency financial assistance or the IDA savings match program, a number of documents will be required but will vary according to each household’s/individuals’ situation. Those documents include but are not limited to: work paystubs, any public benefit summaries, child support verification, childcare assistance verification, social security benefit summaries, etc.
- If you are applying for emergency financial assistance, you will need to provide verification of the unforeseen/emergency circumstances that had caused you to fall behind.
- If you are seeking emergency financial assistance you will need to participate in our financial literacy workshop (up to 4 hour session).
- If you are seeking to participate in the asset building (IDA savings match) program, you will need to meet with a representative from Hawaiian Community Assets and attend at least one 2 hour financial counseling session.
If you have any questions regarding the program, please contact the Program Specialist at 440-3804.