If it's reliable with good JHP ammo, it should serve for home defense. These are crude weapons, but would work well enough for across-the-room fights. If it's all he can afford (or all he wants to afford), it's about a thousand times better than no gun at all.
On the other hand, used holster-worn .38 revolvers can often be had in the same general price range as a new Hi-Point. As an example, I see a few S&W Model 10s on Gunsamerica right now for $175. I'd much rather have a good used Ruger, S&W or Taurus .38/.357 than a new Hi-Point. They aren't sexy like a new semiauto, but they work, and are probably better choices for a novice anyway.