State Launches Hawaii Fire Relief Housing InitiativesPosted on Aug 16, 2023 in News
For Immediate Release: August 16, 2023
HONOLULU—Hawaii Governor Josh Green, M.D., led a partnership with the hotel industry that moved the first groups of evacuees – nearly 400 survivors of the Lahaina fire – from evacuation shelters into West Maui hotels and timeshare units.
The Royal Lahaina Resort in Kaanapali was the first to receive survivors, with other area hotels also receiving those who were displaced by the fires. West Maui hotels and timeshares are also housing hundreds of first responders and emergency workers, in addition to their own employees who have been displaced as a result of the wildfires.
“I really want to thank the leadership of our West Maui hotels who worked expeditiously to open up their rooms for our survivors. Kelly Sanders, Executive Vice President, and Yvette Kitagawa, Complex Director of Rooms, at the Royal Lahaina Resort were among the first to raise their hands in this effort, and their drive to make it happen will bring much-needed comfort to the survivors they host,” said Governor Green.
The initiative was a collaborative effort with resort executives and staff – many of whom are evacuees themselves – and Governor Green’s Temporary Housing Task Force composed of state leaders in emergency management, human services, and tourism. The Temporary Housing Task Force is being led by James Kunane Tokioka, Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), and Luke Meyers, Disaster Management Coordinator in the Office of the Governor.
Governor Green and the state Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) also launched the Hawaii Fire Relief Housing Program on Monday. The goal of the program is to connect those in urgent need of housing due to the Maui fires with Hawaii homeowners willing to assist by offering unoccupied rooms, units or houses on a temporary basis.
“We are asking folks in the community to rent out those extra rooms, the ohana units or accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in their homes, vacation rentals, or whatever safe and secure rooms they have available,” Governor Green said.
Following the launch of the Hawaii Fire Relief Housing Program, there were nearly 700 housing requests received for more than 2,200 individuals. So far, property owners/landlords have made available more than 600 housing units across all four counties.
Property owners/landlords willing to offer their home or available housing units for use can submit the form at dbedt.hawaii.gov/hhfdc. An HHFDC representative will contact you to confirm and verify your information.
Residents who have been displaced or have been left houseless as a result of the wildfires are asked to fill out a separate form at the same webpage at dbedt.hawaii.gov/hhfdc. An HHFDC representative will contact you to confirm and verify your information and try to connect you with the landlord of an available unit that meets your needs.
“We are well aware of the many residents from Maui’s service industry that worked and lived in Lahaina,” said DBEDT Director James Kunane Tokioka. “The Hawaii Fire Relief Housing Program allows those who have lost everything to live on other islands and return to the service industry they worked in.”
For questions on the Hawaii Fire Relief Housing Program, please email HHFDC at [email protected] or call their offices at (808) 587-0469. Staff will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. seven days a week to help.
# # #
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism