County of Hawaii Sponsors a Family Financial Empowerment Day in Kona On Friday

From the Mayors Office:

The County of Hawai’i invites Hawai’i Island communities to attend the Family Financial Empowerment Day in Kona on March 25th from 10am to 3pm, at the West Hawai’i Civic Center.  This no-cost event will feature presentations and one-on-one counseling sessions on free tax preparation, credit, budgeting, federal student aid (FAFSA) application, financial wellness, and a variety of resources.

Today, Hawai‘i residents face significant life challenges:

  • 25% of Hawai’i County Household lives in asset poverty
  • 25% of Hawai’i County Household are enrolled in food stamp program (SNAP)
  • 54% of Hawai’i County Residents have subprime credit scores
  • 49% of Hawai’i County homeowners are cost burdened (pay more than 30% of their income)

Hawai’i has one of the lowest annual wages and highest living cost in the nation.

According to RealtyTrac, Hawai’i Island reports a total of 2,535 family homes going through foreclosures.  Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service has reported that over $40 million in tax credits went unclaimed by Hawai`i families in 2008-09.

The Family Financial Empowerment Event will provide the opportunity to help local families claim earned income tax, child tax, and education credits, mobilize resources to address foreclosure and receive free credit counseling, begin financial planning f or post-secondary education and small business start-up, and learn about credit reports, bankruptcy, financial wellness and unemployment resources and much more.

Ka Hana No’eau, Partners in Development Foundation held a Financial Empowerment Day at the Kohala Intergenerational Center in February.  “I came [to the event] because members of my family want to go to college, and college costs a lot of money,” said Jeffrey Coakley from Kapa`au.  “After sitting down with the FASFA specialist, I found out that this was possible.  It’s a financial relief to know that [my son] can go to college.”

“We appreciate the help.  It’s a one-stop-shop!” said Deirdre and Jason Ahsing from Kapaau.

This event is sponsored by the County of Hawai’i , Department of Research and Development, in partnership with the Ho`owaiwai Asset Building Network members and the Hawai`i Alliance f or Community-Based Economic Development (HACBED).