OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is providing aid and support to Native Hawaiians affected by the recent lava flow in Puna. Kamaile Puluole-Mitchell, an OHA Community Outreach Coordinator in OHAʻs Hilo Office, is seen here working with community partner Neighborhood Place of Puna to issue and distribute relief aid checks.

OHA emergency funds distributed to lava flow victims

Hawaiʻi Island (August 22, 2018) — A second batch of checks from OHA’s natural disaster relief program were released today to 55 Native Hawaiian households to help them cope with the devastating impacts from the recent lava flows in Puna.

“We send our deepest aloha to the residents of Puna, who continue to endure so much,” said Kamanaʻopono Crabbe, OHA Chief Executive Officer and Ka Pouhana. “Their lives, their homes and their community will in many ways never be the same. We hope that our support can help provide them some comfort during these challenging times.”

The release of today’s checks along with additional applicants that are still being processed most likely account for all of the $250,000 in funds that OHA set aside for emergency financial assistance for individual Native Hawaiian households in Puna.  

Native Hawaiians affected by the lava flows who still need assistance are encouraged to apply for disaster relief loans from OHA’s Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund.  Loans are available for up to $20,000 with a four percent interest rate and up to six months of deferred payments. Loans may be used for home improvement, vehicle repair or replacement, or business stabilization. 

OHA’s Puna assistance efforts are part of the agency’s larger relief package of emergency loans and $500,000 in aid for Native Hawaiians impacted by the natural disasters on Kauaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island. In June, OHA began distribution of $200,000 for Kauaʻi households affected by the flooding, and $50,000 was allocated for kalo farmers in the area. 

OHA is collaborating with the Neighborhood Place of Puna to distribute the $250,000 to qualified Native Hawaiian households in Puna. Eligible Native Hawaiians had to have resided in a home or rental unit in Puna as of May 1, 2018, and have been adversely affected by the lava flow. The $1,000 to $2,000 financial assistance awards were limited to one per household. The one-time emergency financial assistance was to be used for food, clothing, medicine, and other materials; emergency housing; medical and related services; transportation; and dependent child or elder care.

For more information on OHA’s Puna relief efforts, please visit www.oha.org/puna, email info@oha.org or contact OHA’s Hawaiʻi Island offices:

OHA East Hawaiʻi (Hilo)
399 Hualani Street
Hilo, Hawaiʻi 96720

OHA West Hawaiʻi (Kona)
75-1000 Henry Street Suite 205
Kailua Kona, Hawaiʻi 96740



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