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Free event Saturday in Lihu‘e aims to prepare Kauaians for homeownership

The third Prepare Fair, sponsored by the Alexander & Baldwin A&B Foundation, takes place Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall, aimed at getting Kauaians in positions to be able to buy and own their own homes, organizers said in a press release.

The fair and five informative workshops are free and open to members of the public on a space-available basis.

The workshops are:

• 9 a.m., Sorting the Maze of Real Estate Language: Title, Closing Cost, Purchase Contracts, Down Payment Programs, etc., offered by professionals with the Kauai Board of Realtors;

• 10 a.m., Living with Mom and Dad: Remodeling, Retrofitting and Building Options, by Jeff Mira and Neal Kakimoto of Honsador Lumber;

• 11 a.m., Help is Available to Navigate the Way To Home Ownership, by Kendal Hirai, Hawaii HomeOwnership Center;

• Noon, Get Credit Smart with Freddie Mac, by professionals with the Kauai Board of Realtors;

1 p.m., Self-Help Housing: Another Option for You and Your ‘Ohana, by Claudia Shay, executive director of the Self-Help Housing Corporation of Hawaii.

The most recent addition to the exhibitor list includes D.R. Horton, Schuler Homes Division. They will be taking names of families interested in buying into their Hanama‘ulu project, which includes affordable homes.

The County of Kaua‘i is a cooperating sponsor.

Businesses participating include A&B Properties, D.R. Horton/Schuler Homes, The Gas Company, Kauai Community Federal Credit Union, Finance Factors, Countrywide Home Loans, Central Pacific HomeLoans, Honsador Lumber and American Savings Bank.

Participating agencies include U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, state Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, County of Kaua‘i Department of Public Works Building Division, Self Help Housing Corp., Kauai Board of Realtors, Habitat for Humanity, County of Kaua‘i Offices of Community Assistance Housing Agency, Hawaii HomeOwnership Center, and Kaua‘i Community College.

Parents can bring their children, who will be cared for by members of the Kapa‘a High School Boy Scouts Explorer Troop, so that adults may attend workshops, speak with exhibitors, and learn how to take their first steps to first-time homeownership.

The same Scout troop will offer light refreshments and beverages for sale, to raise funds for volleyball team travel.

The Contractor’s Association of Kaua‘i is coordinating the Prepare Fair.

The Prepare Fair is presented in cooperation with the County of Kaua‘i, and is funded by a grant from the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation. This is the third fair funded by the A&B Foundation, with the intention of preparing Kaua‘i residents for homeownership.

The Alexander & Baldwin Foundation, funded by the business activities of Alexander & Baldwin and its subsidiaries, has granted $15,000 for the production of a third Kaua‘i Prepare Fair, a homebuyer, community-education effort initiated on the island by A&B last year.

With this latest grant, the A&B Foundation will have invested $45,000 over the last two years in helping Kaua‘i residents to prepare for first-time homeownership.

In 2005, hundreds of Kaua‘i residents eager to learn about the process of buying a home attended the first fair held at Kaua‘i Community College, and the second, held in Hanapepe.

A&B Foundation Hawaii Committee Chair Meredith Ching said, “Our hope is that the A&B Foundation’s support for these educational events, coupled with our funding-company’s efforts to develop homes for the people of Kaua‘i, will help to put more Kaua‘i residents in homes of their own over the next several years.

“Two years ago, we asked employees to help identify priority causes within their communities, and homeownership was one of the top items on their lists,” added Ching.

“So we looked for innovative and effective means of meeting community needs, and the first two ‘Prepare Fairs’ were successful in raising awareness of programs and opportunities that already were available,” she said.

“In the end, we want to better people’s lives.” A&B’s Kaua‘i subsidiaries are A&B Properties, Matson Navigation, Kauai Coffee Company, Kauai Commercial Company and Kukui‘ula Development Company.

The A&B Foundation granted more than $2 million to nearly 500 charities in Hawai‘i, the Pacific Islands and on the Mainland during 2005. For more information, visit the Web site, www.alexanderbaldwin.com, and look for the A&B Foundation link.

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