Big Island of Hawaii (Kailua-Kona)
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. Join our friendly team working towards the common goal of safe, adequate housing for all. We will be working side-by-side with our Hawaiian friends, making a difference in so many lives. Enthusiasm and flexibility are welcome traits. No building experience is necessary.
About the Big Island
The Big Island of Hawaii is the youngest island in the Hawaiian chain and is also by far the biggest at 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, this small affiliate completed their 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. Habitat West Hawaii has an ongoing relationship with the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, through which they receive a variety of leasehold property, operating grants and construction loans. They are also starting in earnest on a Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative.
To learn more about Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii, please visit: www.habitatwesthawaii.org
Saturday, December 13: Arrive at Keahole Airport; greeted by team leader; travel to lodging; team introduction, meeting and dinner with team.
Sunday, December 14: Free day for local team recreational and/or cultural activities.
Monday, December 15: Orientation by HFH West Hawaii; work day.
Tuesday, December 16: Work day.
Wednesday, December 17: Work day.
Thursday, December 18: Work day.
Friday, December 19: Work day; farewell lunch or dinner.
Saturday, December 20: Work half day and/or additional time for local team recreational/cultural activities.
Sunday, December 21: 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.
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)
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Margie Sisitsky has been volunteering with HFHI since 2001. This will be her ninth build and her seventh time leading a team. She looks forward to Hawaii, having done a Blitz Build there in 2012. Her other builds include Brazil, Ghana, India, Thailand, Mongolia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
You can reach Margorie for more information at email@example.com.