Habitat For Humanity Begins Anew

Molokai Habitat for Humanity is moving in a new direction – new executive director, new board members, and new way of looking at affordable living on Molokai.

Zhantell Dudoit, executive director (ED) as of mid-March, said once the three current builds are completed, the organization will be working to rehabilitate houses on Molokai – “we have to take care of what we have first before adding.”

“Having affordable, safe homes is a direct benefit to the [island’s] economy,” she said.

Habitat for Humanity, on-island since 1991 according to founding member and current employee Priscilla Maliu, has built 21 homes and rehabbed countless more.

Homes for All
Dudoit said the last two administrations moved Habitat into new areas of funding, including the first home built on non-Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) land in Puko`o. Dudoit said because so many of their applicants qualify for DHHL homes – 80 percent – much of Habitat’s funding has come from that department. Finding additional funding is a challenge, said Dudoit, but Habitat is committed to all applicants.  Habitat will be building another non-DHHL home, focusing on two more completed homes and seven more rehab homes by April 2012.

However, partnerships with Molokai Affordable homes and Molokai Community Federal Credit Union have been able to provide “funding for almost all economic classes on our island.”

“We don’t get too many [applicants] that fall through the loopholes,” Dudoit said.

The organization originally hired Jacob Noury-Adolpho as the ED in December 2010 after longtime ED Jean Han left, but was let go recently. Dudoit was hired as Noury-Adolpho’s assistant, and presented her application for ED when he was dismissed.

“We felt at the time we had to move forward and Zhantell proved to us she was a capable candidate,” said Charlotte Seals, president of the Board of Directors. Noury-Adolpho was not available for comment.

Dudoit’s involvement with Habitat began long before she became ED. In fact, her aunt, Alberta Harris, was Molokai Habitat’s first ED.

“I grew up in [her] household…[which] fostered a great appreciation for this,” she said. “[Habitat] is a very dignified way of putting people in homes who are struggling. It’s an honorable way to get our people self-sustaining and stable.”

Seals is confident Dudoit will fulfill the position well. “She will keep her eye on the mission, malama the families in the process and her staff that will be helping her make it possible.”

Dudoit echoed Seals – with a six-member board, ED and a few office and construction staff, “An organization like this highlights the team.”


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