VIP Program


Volunteers Instilling Pride (VIP)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is VIP? 

Volunteers Instilling Pride (VIP) is a grassroots volunteer initiative that utilizes volunteer labor to help the Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA) renovate vacant public housing.  Presently, there are about 400 vacant public housing units sitting in disrepair.  We have the opportunity to quickly return many of these units to circulation.  Since 2007, VIP has renovated over 200 units on Oahu.  Assuming an average unit cost of $250,000 to build, these renovations effectively returned $50,000,000 of housing to our affordable housing market.

For a VIP Job Description Click the Worker>>>

Who can help?

No experience required!  VIP is open to all willing and able adults with a heart to help the poor with their housing needs.  Children under 18 must be accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian.

Why should I help?

In one morning you can make a difference and be part of the solution to our affordable housing crisis!  Inadequate affordable housing is a primary cause of homelessness and creates great stresses on low and middle-income families.  Due to inadequate State resources, there are many public housing units sitting in disrepair that can help struggling families.  Volunteer work days quickly return existing units to our affordable housing inventory.  New low-income tenants will usually move into the renovated units within 2-3 weeks of the work day. 

I have no experience… is it safe?

Yes, it is safe!  Specific volunteer-appropriate functions have been identified that are designed for the novice volunteer worker.  Higher-risk, technical, and intensive work is performed by the HPHA and contracted labor.  In life, mistakes happen and random injuries occur; however, experience has proven this to be a safe activity.  The biggest risk is inadequate hydration, so be sure to drink enough fluids!

How long is an average work day?

Each project may vary; however a normal workday is 4 hours long- from 8:45am – 12:45pm.  Most workdays are on Saturdays or holidays; however large volunteer groups may be able to organize weekday projects upon request.  Lunch and water are provided at no cost to the volunteer.

What type of work will be done?

Each project may vary; however normal work duties include painting, cleaning, and grounds keeping.  Some other volunteer-appropriate functions may include taping, caulking, dry walling, tiling, flooring, lifting, and installing. 

Who will supervise the work and provide quality control?

Work is supervised by trained employees of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA)

What does it cost? 

There is no cost to the volunteer!  All materials and tools are provided by the HPHA.  Some volunteers like to bring their own snacks and water, but it is not required.  Coolers will be onsite with cold water and disposable cups.

What should I wear?

Volunteers will get dirty and often speckled with paint- wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.  Hats recommended to keep paint out of hair.  Closed-toe shoes required.  Long pants recommended.

What should I bring with me on the workday?

Some volunteers choose to bring sunscreen.  Most work is done in-doors; however there are some external duties.  Completed liability waiver forms must be completed and signed in order to assist on workdays.

What must I do in advance of a workday?

Volunteers must complete the attached liability waiver form and return to the project coordinator before the workday.  You must also provide contact information to your project coordinator so that we can verify expected headcount on the work day.

Are there other ways to help?

Yes!  Groups willing to provide workday lunches needed (10 – 75 meals, depending on project size).  Individuals willing to coordinate work days and volunteers greatly desired.  Contact Kent Anderson for additional ways you and/or your organization can get involved.

Where should I park on the workday?

Parking is usually available on-site; however the project coordinator will provide this information in advance to the work day.

Why is affordable housing such a crisis in Hawaii?

Hawaii experiences the least affordable housing market in the United States with a relatively low wage base.  In Hawaii, according to a 2011 National Low Income Housing Coalition report:

Fair market rent of a two bedroom apartment is $1,616;

A family of four must earn $31.08/hr to afford a two-bedroom apartment;

The average renter earns $13.65/hr;

A minimum wage family would need to work 171 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment;

Monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for an individual are $674 / month.


Hawaii suffers a severe shortage of affordable housing.  Hawaii’s housing deficit is estimated to be over $7.5 billion.

Housing need: 30,000 units

Cost per unit: $250,000

Housing Shortfall: $7,500,000,000

The housing deficit has devastated low and middle-income families in Hawaii:

Number of sheltered homeless increased 35% from 5,648 in 2006 to 7,649 in 2010;

Number of unsheltered homeless increased 63%, from 4,884 in 2006 to 7,974 in 2010;

Also 358,669 residents are considered at-risk or hidden homeless;

  1. Maui and Hawaii are amongst the hardest hit foreclosure markets.



September 19, 2011


Capitol Conference Room 224


Thanks Senator Chun Oakland for your continued graciousness in hosting this meeting.


So far, over 100 volunteers helped renovate 15 units this month.  At this meeting, we plan to finalize work dates for the rest of this year and determine which groups want to provide volunteers for these workdates.  Hopefully, dates will be secured in early September and we'll start this process via email in advance of the meeting.  We'll also provide feedback from the Wahiawa and Waianae workdates.


Since Saturday, August 6, over 100 volunteers have helped renovate 14 public housing units in Wahiawa and Waianae.  About 60 people will soon secure desperately needed affordable housing due to our collective efforts- most will be children.  Mahalo nui loa! 


Contact Information


StatewideKent n/a


Volunteers Instilling Pride

To view our VIP Photo Albums click here