You are here

Big Island of Hawaii (Kailua-Kona)

September 27, 2014 to October 5, 2014

Spend a week on the Big Island of Hawaii making a positive impact in the life of a family in Kailua-Kona. While the beautiful scenery and perfect climate are easy to notice, those living in Hawaii have many barriers to maintaining a decent standard of living because Hawaii has one of the highest costs of living in the country. With the average cost of a home at $375,000 and the average rent at $1,500, the need for affordable housing is dire. No previous construction experience is necessary, you need only to bring a positive attitude, a fun loving generous spirit and sturdy pair of boots.

About the Big Island
The Big Island of Hawaii is the youngest island in the Hawaiian chain and is also by far the biggest (4028 Sq. mi.), providing a vast canvas of environments to discover a variety of unrivaled natural wonders. This is the home of one of the world’s most active volcanoes (Kilauea), the tallest sea mountain in the world at more than 33,000 feet (Mauna Kea), the most massive mountain in the world (Mauna Loa) and the largest park in the state (Hawaii Volcanoes National Park). All but two of the world’s climate zones generate everything from lush rain forests to volcanic deserts, snow-capped mountaintops to beautiful black sand beaches.

The main economies on the island are agriculture and tourism, with tourism centered around the Kohala resorts and the town of Kailua-Kona, both on the west side of the island. An ethnically diverse population consisting of native Hawaiians, Japanese, Micronesians, Filipinos, Portuguese and Caucasians provide a rich cultural environment.

The median income across the area is $55,300, and more than 16 percent of families live at levels below the poverty line. Amongst single-parent families, more than 32 percent live below the poverty line. The median age is 40-45 years. Elderly individuals with a disability make up 39 percent of the population.

Homelessness remains a reality for a considerable number of individuals and families in the County of Hawaii, and has been increasing at a rate of 6 percent per year. In some areas, financial hardship is compounded by the need to commute long distances from home to access employment.

The median house price in West Hawai‘i is $275,000, which is not affordable to most of the local workforce.  Moreover, even if a family could afford a market-priced home, escalating energy costs make it financially unsustainable in the longer term.

In the most rural areas (Ocean View), almost 20 percent of the dwellings listed by the Community Development Corporation in a recent survey consist of tents, yurts, lava tubes and cargo containers.

About Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii
The mission of Habitat West Hawaii is to empower families and build community and hope through home ownership. Granted affiliation with Habitat for Humanity International in 2002, our small affiliate just completed our 19th house as of early fall 2012. Five of those homes were completed in a very successful “Blitz Build” in September whereby we built five homes in 10 days, using more than 1,200 volunteers. We have an ongoing relationship with the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, through which we receive a variety of leasehold property, operating grants and construction loans. Plus, we are starting in earnest on a neighborhood revitalization initiative. By 2014, we hope to have in place an outreach program for veterans via The Veterans Administration.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii, please visit: www.habitatwesthawaii.org

Standard Itinerary*:

Saturday, September 27: Arrive at Keahole Airport; greeted by team leader; travel to lodging, have team introduction, meeting and dinner with team.
Sunday, September 28: Free day for local team recreational and/or cultural activities.
Monday, September 29: Orientation by HFH West Hawaii; Work day.
Tuesday, September 30: Work day.
Wednesday, October 1: Work day.
Thursday, October 2: Work day.
Friday, October 3: Work day; farewell lunch or dinner.
Saturday, October 4: Work half day and/or additional time for local team recreational/cultural activities. 
Sunday, October 5: Departure from Keahole Airport.

* Standard itinerary is subject to change, depending on weather, urgency of different aspects of the build situation, and needs at the time.

Program cost
$1,910
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)

Increase your impact: Take the GV Challenge
Habitat for Humanity is accelerating its work to end poverty housing, and we need Global Village teams to help. Set a goal and fundraise to make your impact last longer than the days you’re in the field. Your support builds more homes, creates resource centers, educates families and advances our projects to build sustainable communities. We’ll even provide tools to make fundraising easy. Take the GV Challenge – join us in sharing our story and building a better world.

Team leader
Janet Miller from Dayton, Ohio, is a retired human factors engineer who lived in Hawaii during her military career. While in Hawaii, Janet completed a Master of Arts degree in economics with her thesis being “The Economic Plight of Native Hawaiians,” so she is compassionately aware of the financial situation of residents of Hawaii. By the time this trip commences, Janet will have participated as a team member on two Global Village trips – Portugal in April 2013 and Malawi in April 2014.

Contact Janet at JanetOptimist@gmail.com, including GV Hawaii and your name as subject


To apply for a GV trip, please follow the Application Instructions.

Back to Trip Schedule Page