HACBED’s Ho`owaiwai – The Hawai`i Asset Policy Initiative is a statewide collaborative effort involving nonprofit organizations, private sector representatives, public sector members, and community residents that has identified and championed policies and strategies that promote the creation and retention of assets and wealth in low income families and communities throughout Hawai`i. The initiative continues to seek to increase family self sufficiency by (1) building grassroots leadership, networks, and capacity to develop and advance asset building policies; (2) increasing community capacity to plan and implement wealth creation ventures and strategies; and (3) establishing new resource partnerships to affect innovative approaches to investing in culture and values based development of Hawai`i’s low-income communities. This work includes:
- Ho‘owaiwai Network (the Statewide Hawai`i Asset Building Network) – HACBED provides support to the Hawai`i Asset Building Network that is comprised of a range of diverse community-based partners and works to advance asset development policy and practice initiatives including State Earned Income Tax Credits, Tax Credits for Individual Development Accounts, a Volunteer Tax Assistance Program, and efforts to address predatory financial services.
- Asset Building Task Force – provided management and leadership support for the State Asset Building Task Force that was established by the State legislature to initially focus on universal children’s savings accounts, financial education, and eliminating asset limits.
- Hawai`i VITA & Financial Empowerment Program – this program of HACBED coordinated a statewide network of volunteer income tax assistance (VITA) sites and trains volunteers to provide free tax assistance to low income working individuals and families. In the 2015 tax season, FISSP assisted 5,748 workers across the state to file their taxes, saving them over $1 Million in fees and helping them to claim more than $14 Million in refunds and earned income and child tax credits.
- Publications – in partnership with 3Point Consulting and other partners, HACBED developed the publication Asset-Building Policy for Hawaii that identifies six goals for a Hawai`i asset building policy agenda – make work pay; teach asset-building; break down barriers to asset-building; help people save; help people start and own businesses; and help people buy homes. In addition, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back – Policy Incentives & Deterrents in the Lives of Low Income Families was also produced. HACBED’s most recent publication, Asset Policy Roadmap: A Strategy For Advancing Financial Security & Opportunity In Hawai`i was developed in partnership with the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED).
- County of Hawai`i’s Department of Research & Development – development of the Asset Policy Roadmap for the County of Hawai`i.
- State Asset Leaders Learning Circle – HACBED represents the Hawai`i Asset Building Network in the 9 state Learning Circle that includes California, Hawai`i, Washington, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Texas, Illinois, Connecticut, and Michigan.
- Scorecard Partner – HACBED was chosen as one of eleven 2009-2010 Assets & Opportunity Established Asset Policy Coalition partners from across the nation to work with CFED on its national Assets & Opportunity Campaign.
- CBED Conferences – with support from financial institutions, government agencies, and CBEDOs, HACBED organized the 2004 CBED conference – “Families Defining Economic Success: Redefining Wealth & Poverty In Hawai`i” that laid the groundwork for Ho`owaiwai – The Hawai`i Asset Policy Initiative.
- Public Policy –NRFC Policy Committee – HACBED served as a member of the National Rural Funders Collaborative policy committee for two years.
- State Asset Policy Research – HACBED is one of six state asset policy initiatives that was the focus of research supported by the Fannie Mae Foundation and is currently part of the on-going learning network comprised of the six state initiatives.
- Hawai`i Individual Development Account Collaborative (HIDAC) – HACBED served as fiscal sponsor and management agent for HIDAC, a collaborative of IDA practitioners and funders that provided restricted matched savings for low income individuals. Nearly 500 IDAs were opened; over $500,000 in participant savings amassed with an earned match of nearly $800,000; more than 73 small businesses were started or expanded, 49 participants became first-time homeowners; and 53 participants acquired a post-secondary education.
- National Rural Funders Collaborative – HACBED has been a part of NRFC’s (a collaborative of 12 national funders) learning network of 20 rural regional asset development collaboratives for the past 3 years. HACBED was also one of 6 teams chosen by NRFC to participate in the Aspen Institute and Annie E. Casey Foundation’s training institute for Rural Family Economic Success (RUFES).
- City & County of Honolulu Department of Community Services – development of an Asset Policy Roadmap for the City & County of Honolulu.
- Assessment and Priorities for Health & Well-being in Native Hawaiians & Other Pacific Peoples – alongside UH Manoa’s John A Burns School of Medicine and the Queen’s Health Systems, HACBED helped to research the considerable health disparities of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Peoples (NHPP). The report and presentation summarize data and findings from this work and inform synergistic efforts to achieve health equity for NHPP.
As part of this work, HACBED has also managed and operated the Family Independence Initiative – Hawai`i, an initiative to identify viable asset building policies and community practices that work to break the cycle of poverty. The initiative supported families taking initiative and developing their own pathways out of poverty in two ways:
- through monetary awards and new connections, FII increases the economic and social assets of families that take the initiative to leverage their culture, values, and natural community to develop achievable paths out of poverty.
- as FII learns what actions families are taking to help themselves and others, we connect public, private and philanthropic sectors to these efforts and help to improve the programs and policies aimed at low income communities.
In less than two years, families in four communities on O`ahu were able to achieve an 18% increase in their monthly household income; 75% increase in family net worth; and 377% increase in savings.