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Nine Months Later: State Finally Begins Building Housing for Lahaina Survivors
By News Release @ 2:36 AM :: 1106 Views :: Maui County, Development

GROUNDBREAKING  MARKS THE START OF KA LAʻI OLA, A MAJOR HOUSING INITIATIVE FOR MAUI WILDFIRE SURVIVORS

News Release from Office of the Governor, April 30, 2024

MAUI, HAWAI‘I — Today, Governor Josh Green, M.D., alongside community partners and local leaders, officially broke ground on Ka Laʻi Ola, a pivotal housing project on Maui designed to support wildfire survivors ineligible for FEMA aid. This project brings together the state of Hawai‘i, Maui County, the state Department of Human Services (DHS), the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) and HomeAid Hawai‘i (HAH) to create 450 temporary studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom housing units across 54 acres. The temporary homes can be occupied for up to five years. This collaborative effort represents the largest interim housing development for Maui wildfire survivors to date.

Ka Laʻi Ola means ‘The Place of Peaceful Recovery.’ It will provide a foundation for healing and a step forward toward long-term recovery for those enduring some of the greatest need.

“From the moment the wildfires began, our commitment to the recovery of every affected individual and family has been unwavering,” said Governor Green. “We are especially glad to bring this project forward because it will serve a community that has not been able to receive disaster aid from FEMA. These residents have been especially vulnerable after the wildfires and to offer them this hope in the form of housing is particularly rewarding.”

Maui Mayor Richard Bissen eagerly anticipates the sense of hope the homes will give to the families who are housed at Ka La‘i Ola. “As we move into the ninth month of recovery efforts since the August wildfires, we are navigating some of the most difficult times Maui County has ever faced, but we are making progress. Ka La’i Ola is a huge step forward in recovery efforts.”

“Our decision to support Ka La‘i Ola is about bringing stability to our families and friends who suffered such extraordinary loss,” said HCF CEO and President Micah Kāne, “and we are so grateful to our Maui Strong Fund donors for their generosity that made this possible.”

“HomeAid is most grateful for the opportunity to continue our mission here in West Maui, to build housing solutions for our most vulnerable people impacted by the wildfires,” said Kimo Carvalho, executive director of HomeAid Hawai‘i, developer of Ka La‘i Ola. “Our work starts now. Our mission is clear. Temporary housing for wildfire survivors. Permanent infrastructure for Hawaiian beneficiaries beyond five years.”

Project Funding and Community Impact

The state of Hawaiʻi has allocated $75 million toward the $115 million needed for Ka Laʻi Ola, along with a recently announced $40 million contribution from Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund and community contributions. This initiative not only alleviates the financial strain of approximately $56 million in monthly expenses on temporary accommodations for these survivors, but also introduces crucial services and amenities aimed at fostering resilience and recovery.

Support Services and Amenities

Ka Laʻi Ola will provide comprehensive property management and community services, including access to disaster case managers, trauma-informed services, a resiliency center, childcare, healthcare facilities, gardens, playgrounds and more. These facilities are designed to support the residents’ emotional and physical well-being, helping them to rebuild their lives with dignity and security.

Future Development and Land Use

The Hawaiʻi Housing and Finance Development Corporation has leased the land required for this project to the state Department of Human Services (DHS) for five years. After this period, the land and its permanent infrastructure will be transferred to the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, expediting the development of new homes for Native Hawaiian beneficiaries by 17 years.

About HomeAid Hawaiʻi

HomeAid Hawaiʻi is a nonprofit organization that has been instrumental in addressing the state’s housing crisis through the Governor’s Kauhale Initiative. Its expertise in managing large-scale housing projects is pivotal in the development of Ka Laʻi Ola and reflects its ongoing commitment to community-centered housing solutions.

Renderings are courtesy of HomeAid Hawaiʻi and event photos are courtesy of the Office of the Governor.

https://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Community-Vision-Lo-res-2024.04.26.pdf

https://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Landscape-Illustrative-Lo-res-2024.04.26.pdf

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FIRST FAMILY RECEIVES KEYS TO NEW TEMPORARY HOUSING ON MAUI

Ke Ao Maluhia will provide 50 homes to Maui wildfire survivors

News Release from Office of the Governor, April 30, 2024

KAHULUI, MAUI — In a significant step forward in addressing the urgent housing needs of the Maui wildfire survivors, Governor Josh Green, M.D., was joined today by Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen; Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) Senior Vice President of Maui Recovery Lauren Nahme, and Kūhiō Lewis, CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), to present keys to the first family who will call Ke Ao Maluhia at Maui Lani, home.

“This is a day of progress for all of us, but most importantly, for the survivors of the tragic Maui wildfires,” said Governor Green. “Building affordable housing has always been a priority for me, but since August 8 and for our Maui residents in particular, its importance has become even more critical. Presenting actual keys to an ‘ohana today brings hope and healing beyond words.”

Located in Kahului, Ke Ao Maluhia is a collaborative effort between the state of Hawai‘i, Maui County, HCF, CNHA, FEMA, and the American Red Cross. The first phase, set to be completed in June, includes 34 homes. An additional 16 homes, for a total of 50, will be completed in July.

“This is another clear example of our commitment to support the needs of our displaced survivors, and evidence that through collaborative and innovative partnerships, we can do great things,” said County of Maui Mayor Richard Bissen. “We are making progress, and we will continue to work with our state, federal and private partners in addressing Maui County’s recovery efforts.”

“All of us at HCF mahalo the generosity of more than 250,000 donors from 76 countries around the world who leaned in to support Maui and made Ke Ao Maluhia possible,” said HCF President and CEO Micah Kāne. “We will continue to foster collaborative partnerships to deliver on the needs of survivors now and in the long-term​.”

The project’s cost is just under $9 million and is being developed and managed by CNHA on land owned by Maui County. Wrap-around services, including financial literacy, will be provided by CNHA’s Kākoʻo Maui Relief & Aid Services Center.

“Today marks the strength of partnerships and is a testament to what can be achieved when government, the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and the community work together,” said CNHA CEO Kūhiō Lewis. “Delivering the first home at Ke Ao Maluhia through the Maui Interim Housing Plan is a significant milestone for families and a clear indication of our collective commitment to addressing Maui’s housing crisis.”

The modular homes are each just under 600 square feet with two bedrooms. To apply, residents must be verified as impacted by the Maui wildfires. There is no income limit. Monthly rent is set at $2,500 and will include water, sewer, and trash collection. Minimum occupancy per unit is two persons, with maximum occupancy set at five persons per unit. Dogs and cats are permitted. For more information and details on how to apply, please visit www.helpingmaui.org.

Labor support for the project is being provided by the Hawai‘i Regional Council of Carpenters with furniture donated by Convoy for Hope.

Officially announced in January, the Maui Interim Housing Plan outlines a phased approach to delivering housing, prioritizing options that produce permanent housing, efficient use of funds, and readiness for move-in by survivors. The plan includes various strategies such as residents returning to original unharmed residences, the Host Housing Support Program, direct leasing, short-term rental transitions to long-term rentals, and new permanent developments.

Images from today’s event, courtesy Office of the Governor, will be uploaded here.

The news conference can be viewed here.

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