Hawaiian Community Assets announced that Chelsie Evans will lead the upcoming efforts as the organization’s new executive director.
Jeff Gilbreath, who served as interim executive director for the past year and led the organization from 2011-2019, will now focus exclusively on his role as executive director of Hawaii Community Lending, the partner organization of HCA.
The announcement comes at an exciting time for HCA and HCL as they have established the country’s first and only network of Financial Opportunity Centers across all four islands and have seen a 200% increase in the amount of affordable loans made over the course of of the last two years. Together, the two organizations work to build the ability of low- and middle-income families, especially Native Hawaiians, to achieve and maintain economic independence by increasing their incomes, building assets, and ensuring affordable housing. .
At HCA, Chelsie Evans will lead the organization that operates the largest housing counseling agency certified by the Hawaii Department of Housing and Urban Development, serving more than 1,500 local residents each year with free financial counseling, to income and career coaching.
Helping Native Hawaiians and local residents achieve their dreams of home ownership is a natural career path for Chelsie. As the former executive director of Maui Hui Mālama, an organization that focuses on breaking down barriers for at-risk youth, Chelsie has a deep empathy for what many Native Hawaiians face on a daily basis. She overcame challenges in her own life, and housing security was a constant obstacle. Her struggles to find a home while raising her son as a teenage mother and losing her job while caring for her medically fragile daughter have not been an easy road. It was these experiences that brought Chelsie to the doorstep of a Hawaiian community asset, ready to serve and advocate for the Hawaiian people.
With her roots in Makawao, Chelsie has traveled among the islands and had the privilege of working with the Pana’ewa Hawaiian Homestead community in advocacy for community development with the Lili’uokalani Trust. From there, she moved on to other organizations that helped her grow as a Hawaiian leader and gave her the opportunity to serve survivors of domestic violence, keiki displaced from their homes, and youth with disabilities. obstacles to their educational and professional goals.
Keiki Tre’, Lhaia and Violet de Chelsie have been central to her desire to serve our community. While being a mother, she balanced her college classes, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in human services. She has spoken at national symposia on social justice and domestic violence and founded Wrapped in Wings, an organization that supports seriously ill children and their families. In 2019, she was offered and accepted the experience of being the executive director of Maui Hui Mālama.
Now as Executive Director of HCA, Chelsie is committed to creating a thriving community that provides people with options for the life experiences Hawai’i has to offer. “My desire is to be part of a larger community that uncovers the inequities Hawai’i people have to navigate. I hope my personal and professional experience can help close the housing gap, inspire our people to demand to be part of the change and to provide the high quality financial and housing programs that our community needs most.
As a nonprofit 501(c)3 community development and HUD-certified housing counseling agency, HCA offers a range of options for local families struggling or seeking economic opportunity, ranging from counseling financial services and professional support for access to debt consolidation and down payment loans. , and emergency grants and loans made available by HCL.
The latest offering from HCA and HCL is a series of workshops aimed at preventing foreclosures on the island of Hawai’i and Kaua’i by providing options and financial assistance to homeowners. the “Know your options to prevent foreclosure” the workshops are part of the Homeowner Assistance Fund, a $5 million pilot program administered by HCL, which launched on both islands in November 2021. Homeowners are encouraged to register for one of the online workshops in an hour by calling 808-587-7656 or signing up at www.hawaiiancommunity.net.
In addition to its online presence, HCA operates four Financial Opportunity Centers in Maui, O’ahu, Kaua’i and Hawai’i Island. At the centers, HCA’s professionally trained financial counselors provide benefits such as workshops for renters and homebuyers, personalized financial counseling, and access to grants and loans. With 12 counselors, HCA offers the largest number of HUD-certified counselors in the state.
“All of us at HCA and HCL have been called upon to do more during these trying times to ensure residents receive the help they need and that our outdated affordable housing systems are overhauled so our residents can live and raise their families. here,” says Jeff Gilbreath. “The growth we have experienced has made it essential for HCA to have a dedicated leader with multi-faceted experience, and we have found that person in our new ED Chelsie Evans. The two of us leading these sister organizations will better position ourselves to redesign a system that sees our local people and communities as our greatest assets, and that housing is a human right, not a privilege.
For more information, please contact HCA toll free at 866-400-1116.