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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

OHA Trustees commit $5 million in disaster relief funds to aid beneficiaries affected by Maui wildfires

HONOLULU (Sept 6, 2023) – In an effort to support Native Hawaiian families impacted by the 2023 Maui wildfires, the trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs have approved $5 million to aid in disaster recovery. In cooperation with Native Hawaiian leaders on Maui, OHA trustees are currently assessing the needs of beneficiaries to ensure that these funds provide the greatest assistance possible.

“We need to allow the people of Maui time to grieve and process this devastating loss, and our goal will be to build on the efforts of emergency first responders such as FEMA as we move through the lengthy recovery process,” said OHA Board Chair and Maui Island Trustee Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey. “We know that those who are suffering know best what they need, and we are committed to listening to them in making these funds available.”

“We believe that this money is crucial to help Native Hawaiians, and this is just the beginning of what OHA will do to help our people on Maui,” said OHA Ka Pouhana Kūikawā/Interim CEO Colin Kippen.

The $5 million commitment of funds is one of many actions OHA has taken to provide support to Maui wildfire victims. Here are some other initiatives OHA has undertaken to help.

Distributed $2 million in housing vouchers and gift cards with GEM

In partnership with the charitable nonprofit Global Empowerment Mission (GEM), OHA provided office space and reached out to hundreds left houseless by the fires. More than $2 million in GEM issued Airbnb housing vouchers and gift cards were provided to 420 families. GEM has since moved to 115 S. Wakea Ave., Unit B, in Kahului.

Opened new facility to organize, store and deploy supplies to Maui as needed

In coordination with Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, OHA opened the Maui Relief Storage Facility on Oʻahu on Aug. 19. The facility sorts relief supplies and deploys them to Maui as needed. Located in Hakuone at Kaka‘ako Makai, the 30,000-square-foot warehouse space is being provided by OHA with rent and utilities waived.

Raised more than $100,000 via a benefit concert

More than $100,000 was raised in partnership with numerous Maui recording artists and hula hālau at the Wiwoʻole Maui Benefit Concert held on Aug. 19. OHA was one of the presenting sponsors for the concert that was livestreamed around the world. OHA also assisted in securing the venue and promoting the event.

Mālama Loan payments are deferred for up to 12 months

For borrowers affected by the Maui wildfires, OHA is offering the deferral of their current Mālama Loan payments for up to 12 months.

Please visit www.oha.org/mauirelief for relief resources and information on OHA activities, and to sign up for updates to be sent out as additional recovery announcements are made.


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