5,000 Maui Fire Victims Still Homeless after Six Months

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5,000 Maui Fire Victims Still Homeless after Six Months

Nearly 5,000 people in Maui still need long-term housing six months after deadly fires, according to Hawaii Gov. Josh Green.

The American Red Cross non-congregate sheltering program has moved 7,796 people into housing. However, 4,961 more people remain in hotels, the governor said.

“We have secured 2,367 long-term rentals to house our people,” said Green.

“There is still a need for an additional 500 units to fully house survivors of the wildfires, but we are well on track to secure housing for our people.”

Just The News reported:

On Thursday, Green and Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen met with officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to discuss long-term recovery needs where housing emerged as a continuing priority.

Approximately 9,806 people were displaced after the Maui fires that destroyed over 3,900 properties, according to the governor’s office. Officials have listed the death toll at 97.

Bob Fenton, chief federal response coordinator and FEMA Region IX administrator, set a goal of moving 1,500 fire survivors out of hotels and into better temporary housing.

So far, FEMA’s Direct Lease program has moved over 160 households into temporary housing and found 1,500 leased properties for survivors, according to Fenton.

“In the long days, weeks, and months that follow a disaster, housing is one of the most pressing needs,” said Marion McFadden, HUD principal secretary for community planning and development.

“Whether it’s helping HUD-assisted households, ensuring homeowners have the flexibility they need to rebuild or providing emergency shelter for those experiencing homelessness through our RUSH grant funding, HUD is committed to working alongside our federal and local partners to support Maui’s recovery.”

Meanwhile, the SBA has provided over $290 million in loans to small business owners, nonprofits, homeowners and renters impacted by the fires.

SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman said:

“We know there is still a long road ahead to economic recovery, and the SBA stands ready to work alongside federal, state, local, and private partners to ensure all of the communities impacted can reimagine and rebuild leveraging the full resources of the SBA.”

Efforts are also underway to provide a temporary replacement for the King Kamehameha III Elementary School, which was destroyed in the fire.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on a $53.7 million project, which is expected to open for classes for up to 600 students in April, according to the governor’s office.

READ: Oprah Winfrey Baffled by Online “Vitriol” after Asking for Maui Fire Donations

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