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Tuesday, August 22, 2023
HHFDC: 900 Housing Options for Fire Victims
By News Release @ 11:51 PM :: 1690 Views :: Maui County, Homelessness

HHFDC housing referral program ends first week with 900-plus dwelling options for displaced Maui residents; Governor Green urges more property owners to participate

News Release from HHFDC, August 22, 2023

HONOLULU – Governor Josh Green, M.D., and the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) announced today that landlords, management companies and homeowners from across the state have offered to rent more than 900 houses, apartment units and rooms immediately to the thousands of Maui residents who lost their homes during this month’s horrific fires.

HHFDC Interim Executive Director Dean Minakami said nearly 80 families have been placed into housing through the Hawaiʻi Fire Relief Housing Program.

HHFDC has completed the formidable task of verifying the availability of more than half of the properties and is working as quickly as possible to finish the rest.

Of the 900-plus properties offered to date, just over half the properties are on Maui while about 30% are on Oʻahu. Ten proposals came from owners of property outside of Hawaiʻi.

Governor Green said he was pleased by the results from the program’s inaugural week. But he implored other property owners to also join the effort to help the survivors during their time of need.

“Thanks in great part to FEMA, the American Red Cross, the visitor industry, Maui County and others, we are nearly done transitioning a large number of displaced Maui residents from emergency shelters at our gyms and community centers to the hotels who have graciously agreed to assist,” Governor Green said.

“But now the survivors will begin to turn their focus toward their next steps as they try to restore some semblance of normalcy to their lives,” the Governor said. “We humbly ask that those Hawaiʻi homeowners and landlords who are able to open up their homes to our Maui survivors to show their aloha.”

The objective of HHFDCʻs Hawaiʻi Fire Relief Program is simple: Connect those with available living arrangements with displaced residents. While it is hoped that property owners will charge minimal or no rent, it is up to the owners and residents to agree on rents and other terms as part of standard rental agreements.

HHFDCʻs Hawaiʻi Fire Relief Housing Program does not provide funding to property owners or displaced persons.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing financial assistance directly to eligible displaced persons.This money may be used as compensation to rent a unit at fair market rent. For more information, go to https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4724.

Property owners who are considering joining the Hawaiʻi Fire Relief Housing Program can learn more at HHFDCʻs landing page for the program at Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation | Hawaiʻi Fire Relief Housing Program.

The database on the landing page is updated twice daily, as is an interactive feature that allows visitors to see available properties by clicking on a virtual map.

For those without access to the internet, a telephone hotline (808-587-0469) has been established where landlords, property managers, homeowners or displaced residents may contact HHFDC staff for assistance or questions about the program. Staff will be available 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, not including weekends. The public may also email staff at hhfdcfirereliefhousing@hawaii.gov.

HHFDC says response has been overwhelming and urges those who have not yet received a return call to remain patient.

A list of responses to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the program is also available at the HHFDC website.

The program is designed to act as a referral service only. It is up to the landlords and rental agents and the displaced residents to reach terms on rental arrangements and there is no obligation for any party to accept an arrangement.

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SA: Maui fire relief housing program showing results | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

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